Leather was used for a lot of instrument cases by the British Army until the middle of the twentieth century. It was a durable material and much stiffer than webbing that allowed better protection to fragile items such as lenses. The UK also had a large leather working industry as the economy still relied heavily on horse drawn traffic with its attendant saddlery. Today we have an example of a leather monocular case to look at from the interwar period. The case is made of brown leather and the quality is superlative, with thick leather, strong stitching and good quality fittings, this is a case made to last:
A monocular is basically half a pair of binoculars, with one pair of lenses for one eye, rather than the more usual two. This allows a much smaller and lighter package than a pair of binoculars, although the depth perception from two sets of lenses is lost. Whilst I am still looking for a British Army monocular, the case itself is rather interesting. It is cylindrical in profile, with a stitched box lid, secured with a strap and buckle and has had a storage number of ‘16’ painted on the outside in white paint:
This suggests that it was perhaps used at something like a range for target spotting and was one of a set of pool supplies that were handed out and collected back in rather than being a personal issue to someone. Monoculars then, as now, were expensive instruments and adequate tracking and inventory needed to be kept to prevent loss or theft. To carry the case there is a shoulder strap to allow it to be slung across the body, and a loop on the rear to allow it to be attached to the belt:
The inside of the case was padded to help protect the instrument from knocks, and the remains of some of this can be seen on the underside of the lid:
The base of the case has been stamped with the date 1932, the /|\ ownership mark and the contents, in this case the monocular prismatic No 1:
At some point I will track down the monocular to go into this case and complete the pairing once more, however in the meantime it is nice to be able to add a fine piece of interwar leatherwork to my collection.