Prism Binoculars

This is a brass instrument covered, in large part, with dark leather. The exposed parts have a black japan finish. The objective lenses are 18 mm diameter. The eye end of the left prism housing is marked “Carl Zeiss, Jena / D.R.P.” in cursive script. That on the right is marked “Feldstecher / Vergr=6” (field glass with 6 power magnification), again in cursive. The right frame at the prism housing is marked “3903.” The eye cups are of some sort of vulcanite, and are separately adjustable. The inter-ocular distance is not adjustable. The “CALLAGHAN * LONDON” signature on the eye end of the center post refers to the optical firm that served as Zeiss’s agent in England.
Carl Zeiss, Jena, began making prism binoculars in 1894, based on the design developed by Ernst Abbe. This example dates from around 1900.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Carl Zeiss, Inc.
overall: 1 3/4 in x 5 9/16 in x 3 1/2 in; 4.445 cm x 14.12875 cm x 8.89 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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