Military optics need to be as good as possible, whilst also being cheap enough to mass produce and robust enough to survive the battlefield. Throughout the twentieth century, the Germans had a well deserved reputation for producing the best lenses, binoculars, sights and telescopes. Despite this, British binoculars were perfectly respectable and came to be seen as a sign of an officer, alongside the revolver and Sam Browne belt.
This pair of Binoculars were manufactured in 1944 for the British military and are larger than the typical x4 magnification binoculars routinely issued to all officers. They are marked O.S. 656 MA- this means they meet Optical Store drawing number 656 and were issued without a case.
The prominent red screws were to allow dry air to be forced into the binoculars to reduce condensation and fungus. The binoculars are marked NIL for Nottingham Instruments Ltd, a shadow company set up by the Ministry of Supply, run from a former Players factory and controlled by the major optics firm of Ross.
The optics on this pair of binoculars are still as good as the day they were made and despite their age they are still an excellent set of binoculars.