Manufacturer/Model: Zeiss Jena Turita, 8X24
Field of View: 6.3 deg = 110 yd/1,000 yd; APFOV 50.4 deg
Weight: 433 gr
Exit Pupil: 3 mm
Serial #/Year of Manufacture: 1350XXX or 1356XXX (some markings are indistinct) = Either way the year of manufacture is 1927.
Notes: In August 2011 there was a thread on Birdforum seeking occurrences of binoculars in literature and I contributed quotes from some of Hemingway's works. Later, a gentleman living near Winnipeg who had read these posts contacted me and stated he had Hemingway's Zeiss Turita 8X24 explaining it was given to him by the son of the late George (Lefty) Whitman, a RAF pilot, who during WW II took the famous author with him in the cockpit of his Hawker Tempest fighter plane on a combat mission across the English Channel. Subsequently, Hemingway gave the binocular to Whitman in exchange for his sweater. The provenance of this binocular is as follows: 1) The book “Listen to Us: Aircrew Memories”, 1997, (see manitobamilitaryaviationmuseum.com/PDF/LeftyWitman.pdf, page 10/11 first paragraph) documents Hemingway giving the binocular to George Whitman; 2) George Whitman’s son is able to verify he gave this binocular to the current owner; 3) The wear markings on this binocular match those on a binocular (which looks like a Zeiss Turita) Hemingway is holding in a 1944 photograph taken aboard the attack transport Dorothea L. Dix prior to the D-Day landing (See www.flickr.com/photos/binocwpg/6881409514/in/photostream/). Also, although not provenance but noteworthy, are references in Hemingway’s writing suggesting that even before as well as during WWII he may have been familiar with and used the ultra-compact Zeiss Turita. - 1) 'Green Hills of Africa', 1935, page 207: "We started out with the brother ahead, wearing a toga and carrying a spear, then me with the Springfield slung and my small Zeiss glasses in my pocket, then M'Cola with Pop's glasses..."; 2) 'For Whom the Bell Tolls ', 1940, page 433: "Robert Jordan, looking through the Zeiss 8-power glasses, watched his face as he leaned against the wall of the sentry box drawing on the cigarette. Then he took the glasses down, folded them together and put them in his pocket. I won't look at him again, he told himself."; 3) ‘Voyage to Victory’, Collier’s, 22 July 1944: “I got my old miniature Zeiss glasses out of an inside pocket, where they were wrapped in a woollen sock with some tissue to clean them, and focused them on the flag. I made the flag out just before a wave drenched the glasses.” Note that this quote describes Hemingway’s experience on board a landing craft approaching Fox Green beach on June 6, 1944, and I believe the binocular seen above is the same one he used that day. For additional pictures see: 1) www.flickr.com/photos/binocwpg/6881418684/in/photostream, 2) www.flickr.com/photos/binocwpg/6881415018/in/photostream/, 3) www.flickr.com/photos/binocwpg/7027522917/in/photostream/, and 4) www.flickr.com/photos/binocwpg/7027505359/in/photostream/.
I had the honor of repairing a separated prism on this binocular and took some pictures of its prism system which can be seen here: 1) www.flickr.com/photos/binocwpg/6901732742/in/photostream; 2) www.flickr.com/photos/binocwpg/7047825189/in/photostream/; and 3) www.flickr.com/photos/binocwpg/7047820865/in/photostream/.
Any further information readers could provide about Hemingway's use of this type binocular in particular photographs of him with one or quotes from his works would be most welcome.
Note: If you have a vintage binocular you either wish to sell or would just like some information about, I can be contacted at email@example.com .