Prism Binoculars

These binoculars were made by Warner & Swasey in Cleveland, Ohio, in the early 20th century, and used by the U.S. Navy, probably during World War I. Most of the field glasses used by Americans in the 19th century were imported from Europe. European dominance of the field increased still further in 1893 when Zeiss introduced a prismatic binocular designed by Ernest Abbe. Worcester Reed Warner (of Warner & Swasey) spent $40 for a pair of Zeiss binoculars in 1895, recognized the many advantages of the design, and determined to manufacture similar instruments in the U.S. Warner & Swasey introduced their Universal Prism Field Glass in 1900, boasting that it was "characteristically American in its design and construction, embodying simplicity, compactness, lightness of weight, and elegance of form an finish, together with large field, clearness of definition, ease of manipulation, and freedom from strain to the eyes."
Currently not on view
Object Name
Warner & Swasey Company
overall: 4 in x 3 1/2 in x 2 1/4 in; 10.16 cm x 8.89 cm x 5.715 cm
place made
United States: Ohio, Cleveland
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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