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Kindly help date / identify this CZJ 4x bino

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Old Tuesday 10th March 2020, 17:24   #1
Canip
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Kindly help date / identify this CZJ 4x bino

I just got the vintage 4x Carl Zeiss Jena in the attached pic as a gift.

I do collect binoculars, but not vintage ones, and therefore have no idea from which period this is. Maybe one of the forum members (John Roberts??) can help?

Diameter of the objective lens is - oddly - 13mm. The product number is 7791. The white cross on the central hinge is interesting. I have seen this on Zeiss binoculars produced for either the Swiss army or the Swiss market. But maybe that's not what it is this time?

Many thanks.
Canip
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Old Tuesday 10th March 2020, 21:36   #2
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That is likely one rare one, especially in the condition it appears to be in.

Andy W.
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Old Tuesday 10th March 2020, 23:06   #3
etudiant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canip View Post
I just got the vintage 4x Carl Zeiss Jena in the attached pic as a gift.

I do collect binoculars, but not vintage ones, and therefore have no idea from which period this is. Maybe one of the forum members (John Roberts??) can help?

Diameter of the objective lens is - oddly - 13mm. The product number is 7791. The white cross on the central hinge is interesting. I have seen this on Zeiss binoculars produced for either the Swiss army or the Swiss market. But maybe that's not what it is this time?

Many thanks.
Canip
A most interesting binocular, both the 4x magnification as well as the 13mm objective lens diameter are unusual..
The Seeger monograph notes (pp 84) that a 4x DF model preceded the mass produced DF 95 sometime before 1904, but adds no further details.
That is the only 4x field glass from Zeiss mentioned in this magnum opus.
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Old Tuesday 10th March 2020, 23:32   #4
Pinewood
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Hello,

Is there a Zeiss serial number on the hinge? The number on the hinge cap seems too low for the style of inscriptions. Perhaps that number is a Swiss military number.

According to:

http://home.europa.com/~telscope/zeissbn2.txt

This model with flat prism covers date from 1904-1906.

I am suspicious of the eye cups. They look much newer than binoculars of that age. I hope that someone more expert than I would chime in.

Clear skies,
Arthur
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Old Wednesday 11th March 2020, 02:15   #5
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Additional photos from the front and both sides (showing hinge from both sides as well as the strap lugs) would certainly help to identify the binocular.

As suggested by Arthur look for a serial number on the hinge near the body, or elsewhere, sometimes in very small engraved numbers. A magnifier may be useful here.

Seeger's "Blue Book" (Zeiss Handfernglaser von 1894-1919) shows a close up of the right prism cover on what could be the same model binocular on P.86 and he dates that 4X14 model at 1906. But more photos of yours would be needed to confirm that it fits in that early Zeiss series.

Agree also with Arthur that the eyecups and the knurling on the eyepiece look unusual for early Zeiss models. But these parts are often repaired or replaced sometime in the last 114 years (!) on these early glasses since the original eyecups are notoriously fragile.

4X models of that type I porro style are somewhat rare and were uncommon in Zeiss binocular production over the years. So you may have a very nice collectible binocular. Sometimes the view through these early Zeiss glasses is surprisingly good if you can ignore the small FOV and the lack of coated optics.

Cheers,
Stephanie

Last edited by AltaVista : Wednesday 11th March 2020 at 02:36.
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Old Wednesday 11th March 2020, 09:17   #6
Canip
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Many thanks, Andy - etudiant - Arthur - Stephanie, your feedback is much appreciated!

So this looks like "pretty old", even by Zeiss standards.
Here are some further pics (2 posts 2 pics).

I can't see any other numbers anywhere, beside the 7791.
Further feedback very welcome!

The binocular is in usable condition, though not perfect. Optics are "relatively clear", one tube almost free of fog, the other slightly foggy. Collimation is impeccable. Focusing works fine.

Maybe I keep this one and forget about the SF 8x32? ;-)

Canip
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Old Wednesday 11th March 2020, 09:18   #7
Canip
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Old Wednesday 11th March 2020, 09:32   #8
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Hello Canip,

The additional photos are useful, as we can see that there are no eye cups, and that there is no problem there. There is probably an internal serial number but I would not try looking for it.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
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Old Wednesday 11th March 2020, 10:47   #9
John A Roberts
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Hi Canip,

From Kind, Hudemann et al (per Arthur’s link in post #4):
- the first Zeiss models were introduced in 1894, including the 4x11
- the upgraded 4x14 was then introduced in 1896, and made until 1906
- as the bridge is not integrally cast into the body, it’s nominally pre-1907 production
and
- the CZJ/ lens logo was introduced in 1906 (see the second image in my recent post at: https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.p...21&postcount=5 )

So it would seem to be a nominal 4x14 model that was introduced in 1896 and manufactured to 1906, from its last year of production
n.b. it has the deeply recessed objectives (and widely separated prisms) as on early models shown in post #77 at: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...=385822&page=4

- - - -

The Europa site also has a cumulative table of Zeiss binocular serial numbers at: http://www.europa.com/~telscope/zeissbin.txt
By the end of 1905 total production was over 89,000
So #7,791 is probably the consecutive serial number for the 4x14 model - see the note at the end of post #80 in my previous link regarding numbers on early production

- - - -

The above assumes that it’s part of the regular production identified by K, H et al. However, a Zeiss expert may be aware of other production of which it may be one
And of course what seems to be the Swiss national cross raises interesting questions as to who purchased it and who used it
(whoever used it seems to have valued it - the wear to the finish is consistent with considerable but careful use)


John

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Old Wednesday 11th March 2020, 13:14   #10
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Hi Canip,

Thanks for the additional pictures! Now I can tell it is clearly an early Zeiss porro and the eyepiece knurling is typical of that type. The missing eyecups are unfortunately typical as well.

Your nice little Zeiss 4X appears to have a factory engraved 4 digit serial number on the right hand hinge frame where it attaches to the right hand body casting. See attached pic. As mentioned before, you may need a magnifier to read it, I can just not make out the numbers when I enlarge your pic in photoshop. This is a typical location for serial numbers on early Zeiss glasses but sometimes they show up in other places.

The prominent number on the round hinge cap may be the same sn or maybe a stock number added for the end user (Swiss military?).

The 4X14 in Seeger's book that has identical engraving on the right side prism cover plate is SN 3836 and he dates as about 1906. As John indicated, the Zeiss Lens Logo on your left prism cover plate was introduced around 1906, the earlier binoculars had an elaborate script logo and script model designations.

Your little Zeiss 4X was the Alpha coat pocket binocular of it's day!

Cheers,
Stephanie
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Old Wednesday 11th March 2020, 14:09   #11
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"The 4X14 in Seeger's book that has identical engraving on the right side prism cover plate is SN 3836 and he dates as about 1906. As John indicated, the Zeiss Lens Logo on your left prism cover plate was introduced around 1906, the earlier binoculars had an elaborate script logo and script model designations."

Also it should be noted that regarding the above-referenced example in Seeger's blue book (page 86, Abb. 0155) Seeger states that it has a 1/3 type ocular construction which is exactly the same as that of Canip's binocular. See Seeger's blue book page 116 for a picture of what the 1/3 construction looks like.

This binocular is entirely original, extremely rare and very lovely. Congratulations Mr. Canip!
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Old Wednesday 11th March 2020, 14:37   #12
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Just noticed that one of my early Zeiss examples has the identical hinge cap marking as your 4X14. Including the same prominent Swiss cross and the 7791 number!

This example is a big sister to yours. It is a 6X15 Feldstecher, serial number 4846 on the hinge attachment bar. It has the earlier script logo. But the serial number is higher than the Seeger 4X14 example (sn 3836) that has the later lens block logos. This illustrates the difficultly of precisely dating these early Zeiss models with the serial number, they were not necessarily chronological across model lines. Pardon the quick photo shot with my phone.

The 7791 may have been a Swiss military contract procurement number or product designation of some sort and is apparently not a serial number of any kind. Will have to look later to see if I have any others with the same hinge cap markings.

Looking forward to hearing what your factory serial number on the hinge bar is when you find an appropriate Zeiss magnifier to be able to read the tiny numbers.

Cheers,
Stephanie
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Old Wednesday 11th March 2020, 20:21   #13
Canip
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Thank you all, Arthur - John - Stephanie and LPT!!

John, many thanks for the sources and links, useful as always.

Stephanie, you are absolutely right - there is a tiny 4 digit number on the right hand hinge frame. It reads
3248.

Canip
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Old Wednesday 11th March 2020, 22:40   #14
John A Roberts
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Hi Stephanie and Frank,

Thanks for the additional information. In posting I was aware that my information was at best going to be incomplete (hence my qualifications),
and my hope was that those with more knowledge would contribute

- - - -

For some context . . .
My knowledge of early Zeiss Porro’s is limited to what I've been able to find on the net

In contrast, there’s a whole lot more information available in the magisterial works of Hans Seeger. His two main works on Zeiss binoculars are for:
- 1894 to 1919, aka the Blue Book (of 850 pages), see: https://www.quicktest.co.uk/acatalog...of_Optics.html , and
- 1919 to 1946, aka the Green Book (of 920 pages), see above
Besides the price, the main limitation for many is that the text is in German
(and for information on Seeger's sources, along with the dating of units prior to 1907 by serial numbers, see Frank's comments at:
https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.p...6&postcount=39 )


Another potential resource is the 250 page ‘An Introduction to The Binoculars of Carl Zeiss Jena 1893-1945’ by Lawrence (aka Larry) Gubas
see: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...jena-1893-1945
While it's in English it seems to be a great rarity (I’ve been searching for a copy for some time without success)

Larry was a frequent contributor the the Zeiss Historica Journal, including some useful articles on binoculars
Copies of the journal are available both at:
- https://issuu.com/zeisshistoricasociety/docs, and
- https://www.mikeeckman.com/zeiss-historica/
The former also includes early Zeiss binocular brochures from 1894 to 1905
And the advantages of the latter are that:
- there is an index of articles, and
- the downloadable PDF’s (vs screen shots) have clearer detail

- - - -

Holger Merlitz recently initiated a thread on the optical construction of Zeiss binoculars. And I contributed what I could find out about the earliest Porros at:
https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.p...9&postcount=77
However, if either of you have information that could add to/ clarify my comments, I’m sure that many would be appreciative


John

Last edited by John A Roberts : Thursday 12th March 2020 at 01:39.
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