Nikko / Nippon Kogaku 150MM diameter
Objective lens straight thru binoculars
These 150mm diameter objective lens straight through binoculars are a rare treasure that were used by the Japanese Imperial Navy. The Japanese Navy positioned binoculars on 90-foot towers aboard their warships in hopes to be the first to spot Allied ships.
The enormous size of these big eye binoculars allowed up to 980 times more light to come in than the naked eye - offering views of objects up to 20 miles away.
In the years leading up to WWII, Japan did not see the need to focus on radar like Britain and the U.S., because they felt they were way ahead with their binocular equipment in spotting aircraft. Unfortunately, this proved to be a great mistake.
Nikko / Nippon Kogaku 150MM diameter binoculars were considered trophies and many Americans took them home after WWII. Reconditioned models are valuable and considered a prized possession in today’s market. Japanese binoculars were so respected that they were mentioned in the U.S. War Department’s 1944 handbook as “outstanding,” which lead to Allies to reverse engineer the technology.
General McArthur signed a document named SCAPIN 1535 (Supreme Commander for Allied Powers) that required all export items from Japan to have the mark “Made in Occupied Japan (MIOJ). This carried through until the end of 1949. After that date, it was changed to “Made in Japan” or just “Japan.” Occupation ended in 1952.
Nikko was formed after the joining of Fujii, Keiki Seisaku Sho, and Iwaki Glass, and became known as Nippon Kogaku Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha (Nippon Kogaku KK) in 1917 with the purpose to create a reliable national source of optics. The company is now known as Nikon.
Nikko and Toko were the main suppliers of binoculars for Japan’s military during WWII. Records show that these optical industries bought approximately 200,000 pounds of optical glass from Schott in Germany, mainly delivered via submarine.
While Nippon Kogaku employed 23,000 in 25 factories during WWII, postwar those numbers dropped to 900 employees in 2 factories.
Original military binoculars came with a coat of paint, assumedly to reduce the possibility of reflecting light and alerting enemy forces, but also to protect them from the elements. As a collector, you can find them polished to a mirror finish and put on substantial wooden or metal tripods to complement any environment. Some have gold coatings to prevent tarnishing and minimize cleaning.
These 150mm Nikko binoculars on a handcrafted tripod stand gives you a functioning piece of art that was also prized as trophies after WWII by dignitaries such as Fleet Admiral Chester W Nimitz, the U.S. naval chief.
With a range of up to 20 miles these binoculars would be great for spotting vessels on the horizon or interests on mountain tops. They will surely provide a source of conversation, especially if you know the history of previous owners, who may have been U.S. military dignitaries.
· 15X magnification
· 150mm triple element objectives
· 4-degree field of view
· Weight: approximately 125 pounds
18.8x150mm Nikko Binoculars available at Luxxoptica.