Notice for Saturday, January 29: The museum will open at noon due to inclement weather.

Trench Periscope

Trench Periscope

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Periscope for use in trench warfare, World War I. Wood and metal perioscope painted olive drab on the exterior and black on interior. Wood and metal shutter at bottom front of periscope slides up to reveal viewfinder. Corresponding mirror at top back of periscope reflects the scene down to the viewfinder, enabling the user to see up and over the trench from within the cover of the trench. Two hinged wooden flaps open at the top front and bottom back of the periscope to expose the interior mirrors for cleaning and repair. The periscope folds in half for storage. Manufacturer's label on shutter reads, "PERISCOPE No. 9 Mark 11 / (22 1/2 inches between Mirrors) / Adams & Co. / 1917. / When observing with a Binocular, rest it on / the Glass Screen. When observing without / a Binocular, lower the shutter until the eyes / are protected by it and the Glass Screen." Used during WWI and convoyed from the Base Ordnance Depot #1 at St. Nazaire, France, by Sergeant George C. Van Etton, who was relieved of the responsibility at the Army Supply Base, Norfolk, VA. Shipping ticket number 1514. Transferred from the War Department.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Adams & Company
associated place
France: Pays de la Loire, Saint-Nazaire
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall; support material)
glass (overall:; inside material)
overall, maximum (exhibit or expanded): 26 in x 4 1/2 in x 3 in; 66.04 cm x 11.43 cm x 7.62 cm
overall, minimum (shipping, storage, or collapsed): 13 in x 4 1/2 in x 6 in; 33.02 cm x 11.43 cm x 15.24 cm
part: between interior mirrors: 22 1/2 in; 57.15 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
World War I
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object