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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A friend of mine once made the statement that once you had THREE of something, that was the basis of a "collection"; so by that definition, I find that I seem to "collect" German Dienstglas/service binoculars! This weekend on a Spring vacation to the mountains of Arkansas, I found the third pair which made it "official" in a little country antique mall. So far, I've found separately: 1) a standard-issue Bakelite case; 2) 6X30 Binoculars for it; 3) an 8X24 pair; and now another 6X30 pair. ( Please forgive the blurry photos - for some reason my camera wanted to focus on the helmet and not the binoculars in many of these photos! )
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Bakelite Binocular Case

Probably the best piece, and what got me started down this path was the Bakelite binocular CASE, which I found at my favorite HUGE monthly East Texas flea market, Canton Trade Days. When I first spied this looking very tired, dirty, and EMPTY, the seller was away from his setup; when I returned shortly, I asked how much he wanted for it. "Been askin' twenty"; so naturally I offered him fifteen - we agreed in the middle at seventeen or eighteen. Once it was MINE, I asked if it was plastic and was assured it was METAL. Pressing my luck, I also asked exactly what it was, and he told me he had been told "it was calvary." ( Did that mean it might've been used by the Centurion at the Crucifixion; maybe to hold the nails??? )

Of course, the body is the typical Bakelite - NOT METAL! - and also has another common Third Reich material in its construction: Presstoff, which is a FAKE "leatherette" made of CARDBOARD! ( The back belt loops; that's why one is now entirely worn through and the other peeling. ) The construction of the catch is identical to those used on gas mask cannisters; it's missing the thick leather pull tab. Unfortunately, there's a hairline crack in the body running behind the catch. There are no dates, manufacturers, or waffenamts; but inside the bottom of the case are the DIN - Deutsche Industrie Norm - logos. Most important on this particular example is the presence of a stout shoulder strap - since these were also worn on the equipment belt, those are usually missing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
G. Rodenstock 6X30 Dienstglas

Naturally, having the empty case, I now needed to fill it. Just two months later at the same flea market I found these regulation issue 6X30 binoculars marked R/G.RODENSTOCK - Munchen and Dienstglas/6X30/160944/M/H6400. Unfortunately the optics are very poor, resulting in double vision due to the brass threads being stripped, probably by someone disassembling them to clean the inside prisms. ( I have adjusted them somewhat, but they're pretty "loose" and easily knocked back out of alignment. ) One Bakelite eyepiece is badly cracked and the other has a hairline split. The strap and button tab are modern replacements I found on Fleabay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
And Now, Unbelieveably, Another!

The pair I found this weekend amazingly enough are also by Rodenstock and marked the same, with the deletion of the H 6400 and a slightly earlier serial number, 150729. Though made rather close together in time, there is one difference - the earlier presstoff-like pressed-paper that covers the bodies on this example are a rubber-like material on the above. This pair is in altogether better overall condition, nice and TIGHT; especially the optics, which are in good focus but unfortunately very dusty inside, giving a hazy or "smoky" view to everything. ( Both pair have the range-finding military reticle in the right lens. ) It retains its original strap, though it's broken on one end, as is a big chunk of the covering on one side.

There were many manufacturers of these, the most notable being Carl Zeiss. They were popular G.I. souvenirs, since they could be used "back at home", unlike many other things. Later in the war the familliar 3-letter codes replaced the manufacturer's names, making it likely that mine are pre- or early-war. Another indicator of their being early is the use of BRASS in construction - later ones used alluminium, and finally zinc or other "pot metal" to conserve vital industrial materials. Still later, the covers were deleted altogether and they were usually painted in the Dunkelgelb or dark yellow used for most German ordanance, from panzers to panzerfausts. These are the ones that command such ridiculous prices on Fleabay, offered as Afrikakorps by the hucksters since they're "Desert tan" or "sand". ( A quick look at period photos from Lybia, Egypt, or Tunisia reveals that the most common binoculars are BLACK - just like these! )
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
8X24 Hensoldt Artillerie

One final look at what probably have NO real chance of being true dienstglas. This is another pair from Canton Trade Days and is marked simply HENSOLDT - ARTILLERIE 8X24 and are similliar but smaller overall to the Rodenstocks. The most obvious difference is in how they adjust: whereas the 6X30 had adjustments available for EACH individual eyepiece, these have a simple ( and relatively fragile ) single screw-type wheel, easily visible in the pictures. These have by far the BEST optics of all 3 pairs, but it's probably because they DIDN'T go through a major war: if you look closely on one of the cross braces you will find the tiny tell-tale marking, 68117/Germany. ( NOT Deutschland! ) I didn't find that until after I'd bought them; I've since found ones like them offered on Fleabay as between-the-wars exports, which they undoubtedly are. Still, I added a repro strap and button tab to them and keep them in my car as reminders to "look before I leap"!

Hope you have enjoyed my very small "collection"!
 

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I have been searching for a bakelite case for my german binos for years now with no luck. I do have the early war leather case that came with them but I really would like to add a bakelite one to my collection. I have been to Canton on several occassions looking for one but it seems you beat me to it congrats.
 

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I guess I "collect" these as well. I have 5 pair I've picked up over the years although these seem to be getting more expensive every time I find them now.

"Voightlander" black 6x30 Dienstglas H/6400 brown bakelite case closure strap marked frn 42 (These are really light weight-probably aluminum)
cag tan color 6x30 Dienstglas blue triangle no case (These were refurbished to new condition w/ repro canvas strap)
cag tan color 6x30 Dienstglas blue triangle black bakelite case no markings on strap
blc black color 10x50 Dienstglas blue + black leather case closure strap marked frn 41
cxn bakelite 6x30 Dienstglas blue triangle no case

The cxn set has a brown bakelite material body with metal fittings and seem pretty uncommon. Still looking for the correct late war "Presstoff" case as these do not fit into the standard bakelite case. Estimates are only about 19,000 made. Anyone else have a set of these?
 

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A friend of mine once made the statement that once you had THREE of something, that was the basis of a "collection"; so by that definition, I find that I seem to "collect" German Dienstglas/service binoculars! This weekend on a Spring vacation to the mountains of Arkansas, I found the third pair which made it "official" in a little country antique mall. So far, I've found separately: 1) a standard-issue Bakelite case; 2) 6X30 Binoculars for it; 3) an 8X24 pair; and now another 6X30 pair. ( Please forgive the blurry photos - for some reason my camera wanted to focus on the helmet and not the binoculars in many of these photos! )
Yup, you now collect them & are on your way to collecting Bakelite cases as well!!!!! Really Cool. I somehow started "collecting" WW2 Japanese binoculars over the winter? & Samurai swords as well? & Phillipine Insurrection memorabilia &..........Really Cool, thanks for showing them!!! I keep telling myself not to buy anything that was made by lots of different manufacturers, that way, the worst I can do to myself are just the variations!! BW, BB
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I guess I "collect" these as well. I have 5 pair I've picked up over the years although these seem to be getting more expensive every time I find them now.
greendevil41,

Very nice assortment! The manufacturer's code frn 41 and frn 42 unsurprisingly is the same as on the closure on my gas mask cannister, frn 42; the binocular case has only a tiny geometric logo of some kind. I agree with you about the rising costs - when I first got just the empty case, I looked frequently on Fleabay and couldn't believe the prices, especially for the bogus "Afrikakorps" tan ones! I somewhat reluctantly paid $50 for the worn-out 6X30 figuring I might not find another pair soon, and jumped at these I just bought at $40. I assume your alluminum ones look the same and are the same size as the others, but what about the Bakelite ones? And what color are they? A photo would be interesting!

Black Bart,

That's one reason I was kind of disappointed that the "new" pair was SO similar to the first, there being so many different manufacturers!
 

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James N.

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I Didn't Realize I "Collected" These, But...
A friend of mine once made the statement that once you had THREE of something, that was the basis of a "collection"; so by that definition, I find that I seem to "collect" German Dienstglas/service binoculars!

Actually, if you have two of something, it's a collection. It could even be argued that having only one item with the intention of obtaining more could be considered the basis of a collection. That would make a good subject thread...
 

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Bakelite binocular pics

Here's the best pics I could get of the bakelite cxn bino's as well as some of the other sets and cases.


Mike
 

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