Carl Zeiss 10×50 – The binoculars of the century (Jahrhundert Fernglas)!

A bit less historical than most of my blogs but nevertheless a part of the history of Gerrit on which I wrote several blogs before. One of his prized posessions, next to his Rolex Datejust was a, West-German, Carl Zeiss 10×50 Binocular dubbed the “Binocular of the Century” or in German “Jahrhundert Fernglas” by the maker.

Other possesions of Gerrit including his prized Rolex Datejust.

In an article in a Dutch newspaper these binoculars are described as the Rolls Royce of binoculars which they indeed were with a prize to match. He bought them in the 60s (exact date unknown) and had them even personalized with his name. They went with him to many of the exotic places he visited during his life including the Vietnam war and many places after that.

After I received these they became part of my “historical” collection but I did not dare to use them during my own travels. Therefore I bought another pair (8x50b variation) which are even more practical in daily use.

This pair also came with the full history (purchased in 1962) and they were updated in the early 90’s with a new cover and sling. These I use on a regular basis but are nice to share also because of the full history they have.

The were bought in 1962 by a Medical Doctor and the bill even has a custom duties stamp as they were imported from Germany.

The astronomical amount of DFL 707,- in 1962

The 1904 military expedition to the Gajo region

The Dutch Campaign or Expedition medal (ereteken voor Belangrijke Krijgsverrigtingen) in context. A clasp was added to the ribbon for specific campaigns (all colonial). Next to this a Honorable Mention (MID) could be added in the form of a crown.

In this case the claps for the Expedition to the Gajo- en Alaslanden of 1904. A rare clasp ( with only around 350 awarded) for one of the most notorious expeditions in the Dutch colonial history. This was mainly caused by the book in the background which in detail describes the horrors of the expedition but on top is the first description with photo’s made by one of the participating officers. These photo’s also include the images of many native casualties.

The Gajo region was brought under Dutch Government control during this expedition. It is a remote region in the North of the Island Sumtra. It is connected to Atjeh but without the strategic (military, civil or trade) importance hence the very late moment of this action.

Most etnographical items from this region only came into Dutch collections during and after this expedition but are relatively rare like this keris with a typical Gajo ivory handle. A similar kris handle was used by the freedom fighter from Atjeh (Aceh), teukoe Oemar (teuku Umar) which is part of a Dutch museum collection (Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden).

Left a kris in Minang style with Gajo ivory handle and a loose ivory handle in the same style both from my collection next to the kris of teukoe Oemar from the collection of Museum Volkenkunde.

The significance of the stars are described in the Kris Disk by Jensen and he links them to the importance/status and role of the owner.

The campaign medals are generic and not named so cannot be traced to the original owner. This one is of the typical local style of mounting on pigskin and with a privately purchased crown for the MID (the official version had a very poor system for attachment on the ribbon). Both are typical of the period.

See for some more etnographical arms from this region my earlier blog!


Krisdisk (2007) by Karsten Sejr Jensen

Museum Volkenkunde Leiden (photo of kris of Teukoe Oemar)

KuK Officers of Marchbatallion XXVI, BH2 – Bosnian Herzegovian Infantry Regiment 2 – Italian Front, Austro-Hungarian army WW1

These are pictures of an officer from Trautenau who volunteered (1 year volunteer) and became an officer in BH2 together with several of his friends or familiy members. The earlier pictures in this blog came from the same album!

Photo while still as an aspiring officer (so NCO in rank, training as an officer) in 1916
Sitting in the middle
Back row, second from left, now as a decorated officer (in training)
On the right side
And as a decorated officer in 1918