The world’s largest ever set of binoculars was snapped up at auction this summer. Measuring an incredible eight feet in length, it’s not especially easy to imagine these magnifiers being used by a bird-spotter or a spy.
Originally expected to fetch around £300 at auction, they eventually sold in Cirencester for over £2,100 to an enthusiast and collector.
This magnificent piece of kit was originally made over 65 years ago for watching ships, and belonged to an eccentric who lived in Brighton. But for the last 30 years, the viewing equipment has been kept at a house on a hill outside Cheltenham.
A spokesman for the auctioneer involved said: “This set is unique. They rest on a stand keeping them level, so they were definitely not made for looking at the stars. You can scan from left to right. So it would make sense to use them for looking at ships.”
The seller’s father, who left her the magnifiers in his will, had owned the binoculars since the 1970s, but they had been kept in a garden shed for several years. The optics were made before the war, and then placed in the plywood casing at a later stage.
Albert Lambourne Ltd of Brighton made the optics, while William Pacey built the case and mount.
Choosing your own binoculars
Of course, if you’re looking for a binocular set, you don’t have to go for the world’s biggest pair!
There’ll be plenty of other considerations, though – here are just some of the questions to ask yourself before committing to a purchase:
• Will I be using the optics on the move? (If so, go for something lightweight and compact.)
• Will I need to have a tripod?
• Does my equipment need to be waterproof?
• What is the eye relief? If you wear glasses, look for eye relief (the furthest away your eyes can be from the eyepiece and while still taking in the complete field of vision) of 14mm, or 17mm if your spectacles are thick.
• Will I be looking at one object or several things at once? (A single bird or horses at the races, for example.) With single objects, magnification is more important than field of vision, and vice versa.
• Will I be using the gear in poor light conditions? If so, look into light transmission, lens diameter and exit pupil – or how much light reaches your eye.
Choose Sherwood Photographic
At Sherwoods, we’re one of the UK’s top optical specialists for things like bird watching binoculars, night vision and astronomical telescopes and much more.
As a third generation, family-owned business, celebrating our seventieth birthday this year, we have a vast array of specialist expertise and product knowledge in our subject field, as well as an extensive range of products from leading brands. And all at prices which are not astronomical!
Can’t get to our Warwickshire showrooms? Order online and look forward to next day delivery on the many optical products we have in stock. Also look at our website if you’re looking for quirky gadgets and gifts.
Sherwoods Photo Ltd Orders & Information Telephone 01789-488880
Registered Office: The Arden Centre, Little Alne, Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire, B95 6HW - Registered in England No.00666856
Prices, availability, appearance, product descriptions, and accessories are based on available manufacturer information and are subject to change without notice.