OutDoorChecker.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

History of Binoculars

History of Binoculars


On the first hand, it is vital to know what binoculars originally mean by the term. They are nothing but a pair of identical mirrors or glasses which are mounted together side by side. They are aligned in such a way that they rightly point towards the same direction and allow the user to use both the eyes in the process of viewing far away objects. The binoculars are normally designed in such a way that they can be held by both the hands.


The binoculars differ from that of the monocular telescope by providing a three-dimensional view by merging the two different views from a different angle which vary slightly. This naturally allows the user a perfect sense of perceptional view when looking into the binocular.

Originally the simplest model of a binocular is nothing but two spy glasses that are put together from that of a telescope and then connected with a bridge in between. They have been derived from that of the earlier telescopic models which can be viewed with only a single eye.

Modern binoculars have evolved with double barrel chambers which possess one objective lens. There is also an eyepiece with a pair of prisms on the inner side. The light is lengthened and reflected with the help of the prisms while the stereoscopic vision by means of the objective lenses allows in enhancing and magnifying the images.


Long back since the early 3500 BC, the man had been experimenting with glass. For a long period, variously used of glasses had been made and soon the ocular usage and their implications made an inquisitive impression. Very early models and designs of these optical devices were not made note of and it is yet unknown to mankind.

Galileo Galilei was one of the first to have perfected the design and put it into use. These binoculars were just two telescopes put together based on Galileo’s theories and principles.



The first and early binoculars are very easy to identify because of the straight through design for viewing images. Even though the telescopes have a history and record since the early 17th century, side by side the binoculars had been given a try, time and again.

The Galilean principle of optics is based on the usage of a convex lens and a concave lens of eyepiece together. This principle allowed a stern and erect image but did have only a very narrow field of vision.

The earliest credit goes to Johann Voigtlander of Vienna in the 1820s who simply added the eye tubes to the Galilean binoculars which allowed proper and easy focusing. The 1840s and 1850s saw people craving and crawling to own a binocular and started to dress it elegantly with enamel, pearls, gold, silver, bronze and different colors of leathers.


An Italian optician named Ignazio Porro was the inventor of this type of Binocular and thus named after him. This was patented in the year 1854, and the technology used in this is called as the Porro Prism. This is nothing but a double prism which uses a Z-shaped configuration, which allows the exact and proper image of the view. This also led to the manufacturing of wide binoculars with the objective lenses set well apart from one another. This gained more popularity because of its design and better performance and the Galilean Binoculars started to lose their popularity.

Based on the Porro Prism technology, a German Optician Carl Zeiss developed a new and major breakthrough. The Porro Prism binoculars had convex lenses with delta prisms in correcting the inverted image. The Porro design is based on the principle where the light bends into a Z shape before it reaches the eye. This enables a compact distance between the eyepiece and the objective lens so as to reduce the size and the weight of the viewing device.


The next possible evolution of the binoculars was the Roof Prism Binoculars which came into existence in the 1880s. Achille Victor Emile Daubresse was the one to have developed this kind of binoculars.

Today’s users have multiple varieties of binoculars to satisfy their different purposes. Binoculars are invariably used for multi-purpose by the military, marine and for bird watching, hunting, and astronomical reasons.


The Binoculars have a long and interesting history and today’s binoculars are also based either on the Porro Prism model or the Roof Prism Model. Galilean technology had been outdated. But the other two technologies still serve the purpose.

Acute development in the technology has given binoculars with night vision, the digital display readouts and even with a digital camera incorporated with it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top