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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My grandfather recently passed away at age 96 and left me this scope. It has a plack that says “The Kern Company, New York” but that is the only obvious marking. I’m thinking it’s an artillery spotting scope, but I’m not sure. Does anyone know anything about it or what attachment is missing from the screw in area?

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what do you see when you look thru it ??/ describe what the rectile looks like ?? take pictures of the knobs and the dial at the base?? and if you can a picture looking thru the lens?? and a picture of the data plate ?? Turn it on the side and take a picture of inside the base ??
 

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All I know is that Kern Optics is a Swiss company that has been around for a long while (making land survey optical equipment). However the reference on the plaque to New York suggests it might be a different company. Maybe a heavy wooden tripod as seen above was part of that optic at one point. It’s not a Navy item, wrong color and wrong type of construction.

(The 20x M49 was typical WW2 spotting scope. They had brass nomenclature plaques back in WW2).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Here are a few other pictures that I took.

As for the recticle it is a solid vertical line up the center with short horizontal cross lines at the center point and at the edges. There are no other markings or lines.

The base has a mount that looks like it should be mounted to the post of the M17 tripod.

As for other markings, there is a “12.8” mark on the eyepiece, and “A160” on the bottom side of the scope tube. I included pictures of that as well.

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
As you can see that number is stamped into the part that supports the scope tube. The side you see in the picture has “338” stamped into the metal and in the same place on the opposite side there is a “160” stamped in.
 

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My grandfather recently passed away at age 96 and left me this scope. It has a plack that says “The Kern Company, New York” but that is the only obvious marking. I’m thinking it’s an artillery spotting scope, but I’m not sure. Does anyone know anything about it or what attachment is missing from the screw in area?

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What occupation was your Grandfather in. Was he in construction or in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers? A few more pictures from a few feet away of all sides would help.

On the base scale are there 60 minutes labeled. The other scale looks like degrees.
 

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What occupation was your Grandfather in. Was he in construction or in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers?
That question relates to my impression that Kern (at least the Swiss-based company) makes a lot of land survey equipment/optics. (They are often painted OD green which gives them a military look). The reticle shown has no military range estimation features - and perhaps looks more like a land survey type reticle? I’ll defer to others who know more about land survey optics.

Fwiw, I Googled “kern survey instruments”
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
During the war, grandpa was first trained in the signal core before being moved to the tank destroyers, where he commanded a vehicle. After the war he was an engineer at a defense contractor. As far as I know he had nothing to do with surveying.

This device was in found in the same box with a Vietnam era m49. What makes me think the Kern scope has a military background is that the scope tube is a 98% match to the m49. The size and design are almost identical, the finish is identical,and the eye pieces were interchangeable (the kern device has a lower magnification though).

The only difference between the Kern device and the M49 was a threaded port on the right side of the Kern. That port goes right into the mirror area. The only use I could think of would be for some kind of lighting apparatus, so I’m starting to wonder if the Kern scope is from the signal corp.

Also, as requested here are a few more pictures.
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The only difference between the Kern device and the M49 was a threaded port on the right side of the Kern. That port goes right into the mirror area. The only use I could think of would be for some kind of lighting apparatus, so I’m starting to wonder if the Kern scope is from the signal corp.
Well, that is interesting. If the protrusion on the right side was for a lighting apparatus - and if it was signal corps related device from the 1940s - one option is that it could have used some sort of morse code-based lighting system - I guess reflecting light into the mirror and objective lens? I would expect a larger light source for such purposes, but it's hard to say what went in that port. It appears to be parallel to the main body of the scope. Maybe the base was made by the Kern Company, and a modified M49 spotting scope was welded to a special bracket for use on that heavy-duty/stationary base with azimuth, etc?

Fwiw, I bought a unusual set of Navy "signaling binoculars" a while back that are basically standard WWII era Navy Mk 28 (7x50mm) binoculars, but are unique with an added-on "USN" marked Morse signal light that operates via a battery operated hand-held device. I presume this could have been used for relatively short-range ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore type Morse communications via the added-on light. I mention this as the light was clearly added-on and was used for the equivalent of old Army Signal Corp type activity, but on a small/mobile scale for the Navy.
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...Another theory is the add-on port might have been for a missing, non-magnified auxiliary eye piece that was adjacent to the scope and allowed coarse/non-magnified alignment of the scope to the area of interest. Seems odd to have a non-magnified aiming apparatus that used the same objective as the scope, but I guess that's another theory.

Lastly, the reticle is very basic and thus not likely for ballistic purposes, but perhaps training or generalized use?

You could contact a couple of niche companies that do repairs of vintage optics (ie, Navy 'big eye' binocs and vintage binocs and telescopes, and maybe they have seen similar optics in the past).
 

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So it's graduated in mils, but not the type used by the US(6400) or Russian (6000). I've never encountered a military measuring device graduated in that type of mil 6280, though it is my understanding that the French actually used the mil based off Pi x diameter or 3.14 x 2000 for their artillery, maybe pre-Nato.
 

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6400mils is nato. well british military at the very least. its more accurate than regular degrees.
but that is pre 6400mils as stated above 6278 mils was the original mils number.
 
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