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US Spotting Optics from Revolutionary War to Present Day

This is a discussion on US Spotting Optics from Revolutionary War to Present Day within the Optics forums, part of the Gun Forum category; OK just like my bayonets are an extension of my US Long Arms collections so are these spotting optics an extension of my Sharpshooter, Sniper, ...


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Old May 17th, 2020, 11:24 AM   #1
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US Spotting Optics from Revolutionary War to Present Day

OK just like my bayonets are an extension of my US Long Arms collections so are these spotting optics an extension of my Sharpshooter, Sniper, Designated Marksman sub collection. First is a 1700s telescope to go with the Flintlock Pennsylvania Long Rifle that would have been used by Sharpshooter Riflemen of the Revolutionary War. Next are the binoculars from left to right are Civil War, Pre-WW1, WW1, WW2 & Korea, Vietnam, and Post-VN to Current. Bayonets are posted in this thread started by Random Guy https://m14forum.com/edged-weapons/5...ent-day-2.html
















And of course you have to have reference Manuals.



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Old May 17th, 2020, 11:26 AM   #2
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American Revolutionary War



This telescope is a late 1700’s vintage scope two draw brass scope with wood exterior shell and sliding covers for both lenses.




















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Old May 17th, 2020, 11:31 AM   #3
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American Civil War





This binocular is a Civil War era (1861-1965) Galilean type with marker mark of Verdi Paris with no power indicated.





Under one slide out eye shade is engraved THB and the other is engraved T.H. Bailey 4th Mass. Cav. both in fancy cursive.





The leather case is most likely recovered or is a reproduction as the exterior is too nice. The top slides up on the carry strap.






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Old May 17th, 2020, 11:32 AM   #4
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Pre-World War I

This binocular is a Pre-WWI era Galilean type and is marked Signal Corps U.S. Army on one side and 3717 on the other. The metal has a black coating and it has a textured dark maroon leather cover sewn over the body and the thin carry strap is also dark maroon leather and fragile. The 1916 listing of binoculars identifies this binocular as a Type B.











The power is marked as 6-1/2 Day and 4-1/2 Night.





The case is covered with smooth dark maroon leather which has cracked with age. The inside has a felt like lining. The front buckle clasp is missing and the leather carry strap is fragile.








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Old May 17th, 2020, 11:34 AM   #5
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World War I

At the onset of WWI, the Signal Corps was responsible for distributing binoculars to the Army. They were issued to noncommissioned officers and sold at cost to commissioned officers who were engaged in combat. It became clear that many thousands would be needed, but U.S. manufacturing capacity was far smaller and used German and other European glass. In 1914, the U.S. imported $641,000 worth of optical glass, and in 1915, almost none was imported. Thus, in late 1914, production of optical glass was developed at Bausch & Lomb, Spencer Lens, and Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., assisted by the U.S. Bureau of Standards and the Carnegie Institute's geophysical laboratory.

Binocular production was established in Rochester at Bausch & Lomb, Gundlach - Manhattan, and Crown Optical. B & L's connection with Zeiss was dissolved in 1915, when B & L began manufacture of binoculars for the British, French, and Russian governments. As of 1914, B & L had made up to 1,800 binoculars in a year. By November, 1918, 3,500 binoculars were made each week at B & L, and at the armistice, the factory had 6,000 employees and measured 32 acres.

Gundlach - Manhattan produced up to 600 binoculars per week during the war. Crown Optical had difficulties in increasing production, and the factory was commandeered by the Navy in late 1917, with production reaching 1,200 Army Signal Corps binoculars a week, in addition to production for the Navy. To staff these three factories, the Signal Corps often used draftees who had some related experience.

The Weiss Electrical Instruments Co. in Denver had previously made surveyor's levels and engineering equipment, and made binoculars for the Army at this time.

The Talbot Reel & Manufacturing Co. in Kansas City made fishing reels in a factory that was 30 square feet in area. It was purchased in 1917, a new factory was built, and production of Army field glasses was being accomplished before armistice.

The standard Army binocular was a 6 power, prismatic, individual focus, with a field of 150 yards at 1000 yards; issued with a leather case and attached compass on the top. Total shipments of these were about 106,000 units. Artillery units were supplied with an 8 power binocular, all of which were made in France.
(Source: Benedict Crowell. America's Munitions 1917-1918. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919 page 577-9)

“Field glasses issued by the Signal Corps are not for personal use. Officers are to have a personal field glass, which can be purchased from the Signal Corps, who have purchased for testing many samples, which can be inspected.”

5 binocular types were in use by the U.S. Army in 1916:

Type A. Magnification 5.6 (day, 5.4 degree field), 3.8 (night, 8.3 degree field, plus lenses drop in front of eye lenses); Galilean, 1.5 inch objective, aluminum & brass. Two issued to each company of infantry, cavalry, coast artillery, Scouts, and Signal Corps. Price, $12.15. Later Model 1910 has interpupillary adjustment, price $14.75.

Type B. Magnification 4.5 and 6.5, Galilean, 1.75 inch objective, interpupillary adjustment. Field of view at 4.5x, 90 yards at 1,000 yards; at 6.5x, 60 yards. Price, $17.50. For field artillery.

Type C. Magnification 10, 1.75 inch objective, field of view 80 yards at 1000 yards, Porro prism. 1910 issue was the Terlux 10 power. Price $39.90. Issued to artillery reconnaissance officers, Signal Corps, and all machine gun platoons.

Type D. Planned in 1910. Magnification 8, field of view 5 degrees 40 minutes, estimated cost $27. 1916 issue, Busch 8-power Stellux, 1.75 inch objective.

Type EE. Issued by 1916, Porro prism, magnification 6, 1.1875 inch objective, mil scale reticle on one side.

Telescopes issued in 1910 were the Type A, 2 inch, 18 power and 24 power, prism erector, Alt-AZ on folding tripod; and Type B, 2 draw Spyglass, 19-27 power.



This binocular is a WWI era Type EE manufactured by Bausch & Lomb, it has a black paint over brass and the body is covered with what appears to be brown leather with a clear protective coating.











It is marked Signal Corps U.S. Army on one side and Serial No. EE 271276 on the other side.





It has a smooth brown leather carry case missing the carry strap and the front closure is a snap type, there is no compass on the top.













The Signal Corps Storage Catalogue (1920):

Type E - "binocular, 6 by 30; same as Field glass, type EE, except for omission of the mil and range scale"

Type E-1 - "binocular; Galilean: 4.5 inches diameter magnification; object lens 1.75 inches...formally designated type B"

Type E-9 - "Galilean; magnification approx. 3.5 and 5.5 diameters; object lens 1.5 inches...formally designated type A '1910' "

Type E-10 - "prismatic; 'Terlux' 10-power; object lens, 1.75 inches...formally designated type C"

Type E-11 - "prismatic; Busch 8-power 'Stellux'; object lens, .75-inch...formally designated type D"

Type EE - "binocular, 6 by 30; object lens, 1.1875-inch...one barrel equipped with mil and range scale"

(Source: Steve Harris article)

Procurement of Optics was by the Signal Corps until 1921 then it changed to the Ordnance Department.

Prior to WWII the standard U.S. Military binoculars were the 6x30 model E and EE (the E did not have the mils and range scale in the reticle and the EE had the mils and range scale in the reticle).





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Old May 17th, 2020, 11:39 AM   #6
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World War II



The 6x30 power model M3 family became the standard U.S. Army binocular of WWII. It was made by Nash-Kelvinator, Westinghouse, B & L, Universal Camera and Wollensak. B&L and other optical giants made most of the optics for the various manufacturers. There were minor differences in weatherproofing, reticles, and coatings. The M3 range scale in the left reticle is graduated in mils (horizontal) and hundreds of yards (vertical). Production stopped in 1944. The carry case for the M3 binocular was the model M17 in brown leather for the Army.







The model M4 was canceled, the 6x30 power models M5 and M6 were made for British Purchase. The US mils and range scale was in the left reticle, the British range scale was in the right reticle. The model M7 was a 7x50 power and the model M8 was a 6x30 power. The 6x30 power model M9 was made for the USMC from 1941-1943. The M5, M6, M8, and M9 were all versions of the 6x30 model M3 as the parts from different manufacturers were not interchangeable they were given different model numbers.

The M9 I have does not have a range scale in its eye piece and has been repainted flat black over the original gloss black finish.







It was made by Universal camera Corp. and is marked U.S.M.C. 6x30 Serial No. 21439. The face plates have been painted flat black over the original gloss black. The body is covered with pebble finish black leather and has a narrow leather black carry strap.





The smooth black leather carry case is unmarked which is correct for the USMC cases. It has a light tan leather carry strap which is common on USMC and Navy cases although black straps are also appropriate. This is the Marine version of the Army M17 carry case. Both have a slot on the back to allow carry by sliding onto a web waist belt as well as a carry handle on the top of the case. WWI carry cases had neither of these features. The WWII cases do have the front closure snap connection similar to the WWI case. Army carry cases were brown where Navy and USMC carry cases were black.









Models 13 and 13A1 both 6x30 power were introduced in 1943 as upgrades to the M3 family with the additions of interchangeable parts between manufacturers and better waterproofing.





Models M15, M15A1, M16, M17 and M17A1 all 7x50 powers were made 1943-1944 as upgrades to the model M7 with additions of better waterproofing and lens coatings. The carry case for the 7x50 power binoculars was the model M24 followed by the M44.










Korean War

WWII binoculars were also used during the Korean War, as issued or reconditioned.



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Old May 17th, 2020, 11:41 AM   #7
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Vietnam War

The Army brown carry cases were died black on the outside when they changed their brown leather to black leather in 1956-1957. Then during Vietnam War a lot of binoculars and carry cases were painted green as they continued to use the WWII era binoculars.







This M17 binocular I have is painted green over the black finish.













The M44 carry case is also painted green on the outside but the interior of the case still shows the original brown leather.









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Old May 17th, 2020, 11:42 AM   #8
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Post-Vietnam



M19 in use during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada October 1983





The 7x50 power model M19 is made by Bell & Howell using Japanese optics, it is fully coated, green in color and designed to be light weight. The new optical construction technology allowed it to be smaller and lighter than the previous 7x50 power binoculars. It has interchangeable eyepiece objectives which could be focused individually and both were sealed with a synthetic rubber bellows. Production started in 1975, introduced into the US Army in 1977 with deliveries completed to the Army and USMC by 1986 and the Navy by 1987.











The carry case is green vinyl coated aluminum with a nylon webbed carry strap that rolls up and stores inside the lid when not required. It retains the ability to be slid onto a waist belt for carry similar to previous leather carry cases but there is no carry handle on the top. A snap type front closure is also retained on this case.











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Old May 17th, 2020, 11:48 AM   #9
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Gulf War to Present

The 7x50 power model M22 developed by Steiner of Germany was adopted by the US Army in 1987 and the Navy and USMC in 1989. Northrop Grumman Corporation became the prime contractor for the M22 binocular in December 2001. It measures 7.1 inches x 8.2 inches x 7.4 inches and weighs 2.7 pounds. The instrument is designed for extreme conditions, and is dustproof and waterproof to a depth of 15 feet. It was covered in a green originally then later black rubber-coated housing that provides a non-slip and non-reflective outer surface. The M22 was used in first Gulf War as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan and is currently in use by all US forces.





It has highly reflective coated front lenses causing some to dub it the “Shoot Me” binoculars which lead to the development of “Kill Flash” attachments. The carry strap on this one is padded foam connected to the binocular with nylon webbing and plastic connectors.















This carry case is a green padded nylon material with a zipper top and 4 Alice clips for attachment to a sniper rifle case.










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Old May 17th, 2020, 11:49 AM   #10
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Since their invention in the first half of the 19th century, binoculars have played a critical role in many tactical military operations. It has only been in the last decade, however, that U.S. Army binoculars have been optimized to meet the unique needs of individual warfighters.

“Before 2000, the Army considered binoculars to be a ‘one size fits all’ type of item,” per Barbara Muldowney, deputy product manager for Individual Weapons within the program executive office—Soldier. “And that’s pretty hard to do. But after 2000, the Army decided that they needed mission-specific binoculars.”

“The M22 was too large to meet the needs of all warfighters. As a result, the Army procured a smaller version of the binocular system, which has been designated as the M24 mini binocular. The M24 is tiny and just fits in the pocket of the BDUs or ACUs. The first ones came out in 2005.”

Although smaller (5.31 inches x 4.92 inches x 2.68 inches) and lighter (1.26 pounds) than the M22, the M24 provides the same 7X magnification with a 28 mm objective lens diameter, but less light gathering capabilities than the M22. Northrop Grumman Corporation is also the prime contractor of the M24 system.



This 7x30 power M24 mini-binocular is made by Northrop-Grumman/Fuji. It also has coated front lenses like the M22 thus Kill flash is desirable. The rubber extension at the eye piece can be rolled back if you are wearing glasses.











This carry case is forest green camouflage nylon with zipper top and MOLLE attachments on the back. There is a strap over the top with a Velcro attachment.












This concludes the binocular portion of my spotting optics thread. The photos were taken some time ago and I’ve worked on this presentation for the last two days. Next will be the spotting scopes portion, maybe next weekend. Here is a tease photo for it.


Thanks from hardway, eagle0199, Lruss and 13 others

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Old May 18th, 2020, 05:03 AM   #11
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Good gosh(!), what an awesome visual display/interesting post of US military binoculars from basically the beginning.
Many thanks(!), that is an impressive collection and I really appreciate the historical info you included.

I have only a half-dozen or so military binoculars but I need 2 of them to be serviced (please send me a PM if you have any recommendation for servicing).

One thing I have not fully understood is why there are two versions of the military 'M22' binoculars. The history of the original Steiner 7x-50mm (with green rubberized finish) is well documented as noted in your post (being adopted in 1987/89), but what is not well documented is the Fujinon-made M22 binoculars with black finish. It has the same 7x50mm size, and the NSN was introduced in July 1992. (NSN: 1240-01-361-1318) https://www.armyproperty.com/nsn/1240-01-361-1318


I have both the Steiner M22 and the Fujinon military M22, but I need soft cases for both of mine (any tips re NSNs or where I could find them is appreciated). Attached is a pic of a USMC spotter with the black Fijinon M22, and two pics of my specimen (supposedly "from the early 1990s" based on the font style), which has the ARD covers.

Anyhow, very informative post, thanks for all that work posting it(!)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg marinesniper_spotter1.jpg (51.3 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg M22_binocs_rear.jpg (60.4 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg M22_binocs_ARD_covers.jpg (86.6 KB, 9 views)

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Last edited by Random Guy; May 19th, 2020 at 03:45 AM.
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Old May 18th, 2020, 05:46 PM   #12
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Ok darn it CTS,,, just where da heck is your museum??? I gotta get there this summer....

Awesome collection, Awesome writeup!!!

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Old May 18th, 2020, 06:04 PM   #13
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Nice!
Thanks! :)

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Old May 18th, 2020, 06:37 PM   #14
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Cowtown, would love to see the telescope mounted on the Pennsylvania long rifle! Great write up, much appreciated and the Cowtown Museum sounds like a must.

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Old May 19th, 2020, 02:43 AM   #15
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Geepers! Whole lotta looking going on.
Awesome collection.

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