Title: Binoculars with case
Accession #: NHHC 2016.062.001
Size: 8.5 x 7 x 3.25”
Medium: Metal, Glass
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command
One pair of binoculars with leather case. Binoculars are silver at the caps with black leather along the body. The eyepieces read // Voigt Learder & Sohn // with the crossbar reading // Brunswick / Germany // Engraved on the body are initials DB and RLS. Case is light brown tanned leather with a navy blue felt interior. Engraving on lid reads // BL Stowe / 21 Green St / Milford Conn // with a previous address crossed out. Interior of lid reads // Tiffany & Co. / New York / Paris London //
These binoculars were used as part of the “Eyes for the Navy” program in WWI. Before the advent of sonar, the most reliable means of detecting a submarine was to spot its periscope above the waves. Because submarines were difficult to spot, more sailors were needed to be on the look-out. The Navy was unable to provide enough binoculars, telescopes, and spyglasses to meet this need. In response, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, established the “Eyes for the Navy” program whereby American citizens could loan their binoculars, spyglasses, etc. to the Navy for the duration of the war. The Navy would send that person $1 as a rental fee. Following the war, all navigational instruments not in use were returned to their original owners.
Learn more about the "Eyes for the Navy" program: