1917 Dated Binoculars and Case

The British had difficulties providing all the men who needed them with a good pair of binoculars in World War One. As we discussed here, they turned to French binocular manufacturers to make up the short fall and a fairly standard pattern was adopted, but produced by a range of different French optics companies. Tonight we are looking at another pair of these binoculars, of almost identical design but from a different company:imageWhat makes this pair nice however is that they come with the original leather carrying case:imageThe case is made of high quality leather, with a hinged lid that opens to allow the binoculars to be placed inside:imageA strap and brass buckle on the front secures the top flap in place and prevents the binoculars from slipping out:imageOn the rear of the case are a pair of belt loops, allowing them to be worn on a Sam Browne belt rather than by the shoulder strap, which is removable:imageThe front of the case has a /|\ mark stamped into the leather:imageWhilst the top of the case is marked ‘W Swart’ and dated 1917:imageThe binoculars themselves are a standard pair of Mk Vs with Galilean lenses of a similar design to that used in the British Army since the beginning of the century. Each lens has a brass glare deflector that can be pulled forward: imageThe eyepiece barrels are marked with a /|\ stamp and a serial number:imageEach eyepiece is marked ‘Lemaire Fabt Paris’:imageLemaire were a French company that had been founded in 1846 by a monsieur Armand Lemaire to produce binoculars. Monsieur Lemaire died in 1885 and his son in law took over the firm. They diversified into making cars and electrical equipment but continued making binoculars until the firm folded in 1955.

I bought this pair of binoculars for £10 a couple of weeks ago and it is amazing to think that something as attractive and over a hundred years old is so inexpensive. These binoculars were produced in large numbers and it is true that they are not as good as prismatic examples, but this still seems a very small amount for something of this age.

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