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Swift Audubon 804 HR Gold Ribbon - 35 years old and still going strong

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Old Sunday 4th November 2018, 12:27   #1
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Swift Audubon 804 HR Gold Ribbon - 35 years old and still going strong

I was searching for stuff on Swift Audubons because I was wondering if maybe it was time(!) I got mine serviced, and I came across the "Historical Review of Swift Audubon Binoculars" by Edward Huff and Renze de Vries in this forum. What great information! I didn't even know mine were 804s until I saw the photos. I now know a whole lot more about them than I did, so thanks to Edward and Renze (and helpers) for the great work they put in. Perhaps no-one is monitoring that thread any more, but just in case they are, I'm including info and photos in case it's useful if the documents are ever updated.

I bought my Swift Audubon binoculars new in 1983. They cost over 100 pounds sterling (the equivalent of more than $150 at the time) - expensive, but this was before I had a family. I knew I was making an investment for the future, and how true that was. I was astonished by just how bright and sharp they were, and to this day have never been disappointed with their performance. I still love them. I sometimes idly try other bins when in shops (don't we all?) and yet to find anything I'd want to replace them with at a price I'd be willing to pay. I read (in a response by elkcub to another post) that modern coatings make a big difference, but perhaps all that really means is that smaller binoculars can now be as bright as larger ones used to be. Sure, mine look old (and that bothers me? - I look old!) and are relatively heavy, but I still need a good excuse to leave them at home and take my lighter-weight "emergency" pair.

In 35 years they've been to a lot of places around the world but are still in great condition - I do look after my stuff! The original leather strap died way back, and I've no idea where the case is, although I decided long ago that with the lens caps in place, it was just unnecessary bulk. The only reason for considering a service is that the right eyepiece adjustment has a small amount of play in it, not enough to be a problem but enough to be slightly irritating. I am very conscious of the maxim "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" - perhaps I should just leave it alone.

So, according to Edward and Renze's documents on this forum, they are a type 3b "gold ribbon". The S/N 823432 is consistent with the date I purchased them. I've include this info and photos in case it's useful if the documents are ever updated. Many thanks.
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Old Sunday 4th November 2018, 20:03   #2
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Hello OFT,

Thanks for the post, and perhaps the gentle nudge to update the article; it certainly needs it. The Swift Audubon history revealed itself only little by little, and unfortunately, we didn't realize until after it was initially structured that Swift subsidiaries in the UK and Europe had their own variants and markings. So, for example, your specimen is a Swift-Pyser variant with a typical gold ribbon and no mention of "Model 804" on the right cover plate. It was only after we compared the 1959 Swift-Anderson catalog with a 1960 Swift Instruments catalog that we realized that prior to "Swift Instruments" being established in 1960 the numbers were all catalog numbers, not model numbers. In the UK, Pyser had different catalog designations, with no numbers, but they did identify model names, like Audubon.

I own an original 1958 Audubon (Type 0) that was designed by Mr. Tamura and manufactured by Tamron Optical Co. It works today probably as well as it did in 1958, — and, like yours, is truly formidable.

Welcome to Birdforum, by the way.
Understanding optics is child's play compared to understanding child's play.
Nullius in verba
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts." Richard Feynman

Last edited by elkcub : Monday 5th November 2018 at 03:23.
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 17:35   #3
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The play can probably be alleviated by cleaning out the original grease and applying a small amount of Tufgel.
We use quite a lot in the workshop. Means you will have to remove the centre lock nut and the right focus arm to get to the eyepiece/ dioptre focus thread.
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