Prism Binoculars

Prism Binoculars

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Most of the field glasses (aka binoculars) 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."
These prism binoculars were probably used during World War I. One inscription reads "Warner & Swasey." Another reads "U.S. NAVY 04350."
Currently not on view
Object Name
Warner & Swasey Company
place made
United States: Ohio, Cleveland
overall: 4 in x 3 1/2 in x 2 1/4 in; 10.16 cm x 8.89 cm x 5.715 cm
overall in case: 5 15/16 in x 4 3/4 in x 3 in; 15.08125 cm x 12.065 cm x 7.62 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
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