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Nikko/Kuhne 30/60x180mm

From the late Kevin Kuhne's home/workshop in Torrington, Connecticut- the WWII Nikko 180mm Cooke F/4.5 triplet, as featured in Dr. Hans Seeger's Ferngläser und Fernrohre (3rd edition, pg. 275), now on display at the BigBinoculars.com showroom. Kuhne's most famous restoration is the collossal 20/40x200mm Zeiss, commissioned by the Smithsonian Naval History Center, now in a museum in Koblenz, Germany. Kuhne's restorations typically have the stock eyepieces replaced with wide-angle German eyepieces- and in this case, the original Nikko turret-mounted 22x and 30x oculars have been replaced with Zeiss 30x and 60x oculars. The Zeiss oculars are stunningly sharp, even at 60x, and collimation is dead-on. Kuhne also machined the custom fork mount, glare shields with spring-loaded objective covers, and brass counterweight system. The fork mount sits on a Quick-Set Gibraltar 546 pier with crank-up elevator (rated for 400 lbs.). At over 300 lbs. (with mount), this is believed to be the largest privately-owned binocular in the world, and is certainly the most unique. Here's what Kevin himself had to say about it in May of 2006-
"Did you ever see the 30-60X180mm WW 2 Japanese battleship binocular with a flat turret system I completely restored for myself some years ago? These instruments incorporate a 180mm triplet objective, each triplet in its brass cell weighs in at almost 40 lbs. The porro 2 prisms are huge also. LOTS of glass! Original magnifications were 22.5X and 30X. I boosted both by using wide angle WW2 German oculars. Performance is unequaled even by the best of the newer optics of today. It was a complete basket case when I found it up in Massachussets. Looked like someone had thrown it off a 10 story building. Lots of parts missing. I added a lot of extras to it. If you have an interest I can send you images of it (see bottom of this page). Its over 300 lbs. with the custom yoke mounting I built for it and a Quick-Set pedestal, (with lockable wheels). Would be perfect for a person or persons who had a home on the ocean, lake front or in the mountains. They would also need a hefty bank account. These are quite rare in their original form as I only know of 4, and all of these have chipped glass in one form or another. This optical system is PERFECT. This specimen is one of a kind because of the custom work I did on it."

The beauty of this historic instrument, as well as Kuhne's incredible machine work, can't be described in words- so check out the pictures below, as well as our Nikko/Kuhne 30/60x180mm video.

UPDATE 02/17/08- SOLD to a customer in Jamestown, RI.


Nikko/Kuhne 30/60x180mm with custom Kuhne fork mount, brass counterweight system, and Quick-Set Gibraltar 645 pier with elevator (rated for 400 lbs.)


View of turrets with Zeiss 30x and 60x wide-angle oculars, adjustable forehead rest, and integrated finderscope.
The turrets do not have detents- simply line up all four oculars, then fine adjust for perfect vertical alignment between both sides.


View of 7-inch triplet objectives, baffle system, and spring-loaded machined objective covers.


Bottom view. Lifting the binocular off the fork mount is a 2-man (minimum) job.


Top front view.


View of the elaborate counterweight system. Offsets the weight of the glare shields/objective covers. Kuhne had also built two aperture stop inserts, which required counterweight adjustments to maintain balance. Unfortunately the aperture stop inserts have been lost.


Inter-pupil distance adjustment mechanism. IPD range is 60mm to 90mm.


Dessicant cover (under the finderscope).


Quick-Set Gibraltar 546 pier with crank-up elevator (rated for 400 lbs.). Provides enough height even for those well over 6' tall.
Includes extra fork bearing that could be used to build a permanent pier mount.

The only flaw is a very small crack at the edge of the first left-side objective lens.


Helen checks out the view.

Kevin Kuhne's restoration photos and notes (click to enlarge)

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