Denhill binoculars

Denhill De Luxe 12x40, 1957
Denhill De Luxe 12x40 Wide Ange, c1957 Image courtessy of Nipon Scopes and Binoculars.

'Denill' was a brand of imported binoculars sold in the UK in the 1950s and early 1960s. They were by French and German makers.

They were sold by J A Davis which was a general mail order retail business.

Before the Second World War J A Davis & Co had a store at 94-104 Denmark Hill London. They sold a variety of products including jewellery, watches, Remmington electric shavers and eventually binoculars. In 1938 they advertised prismatic binoculars by Lumiere, Paris for 3 shillings deposit and 5 shillings monthly.

After the War J A Davis advertised ex-military binoculars by Kershaw.

In 1951 Davis' binoculars were once again made in France. They called the new binocular 'Denhill'. The brand was based on the location DENmark HILL.

In 1953, they recruited the sports commentator Raymond Glendenning to endorse the binoculars. Glendenning was well known for his handlebar moustashe. He commentated on horse racing and football. He was often pictured with a pair of binoculars. It was a great endorsement.

In 1955 Glendenning wrote the forward to a booklet published by J A Davis called 'How to choose a binocular'. For sixpence the booklet looked at the main uses for binoculars: horse racing, bird watching, football spectating and watching big game animals.

By 1957 there was a huge range:

They were most likely all made in France. The smallest model could be supplied in burgundy or Ascot grey finish for lady customers at no extra cost.

Denhill introduced the German-made Denhill Deluxe range in 1957:

By 1959 J A Davis was stocking a completely different range of binoculars.

For the connoisseur there was a special bargain. They offered an ex-World War II German Zeiss 10x50 glass with coated optics for a staggering £48 10s or nearly £1,000 pounds in today's money.

One connoisseur who did order a pair of binoculars from Davis was Mr Nikita Krushchev, the Russian Premier. Mr Colin Davis, the director of the London store, received an order from the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv for several items, including one pair of British binoculars as previously supplied to Mr Nikita Kruschev. It was his second pair.[1] It is strange that Mr K did not prefer Soviet-made binoculars.

In 1960 there was yet another range of binoculars. All endorsed by Glendenning.

The Rangemaster offered incredible magnification. Denhill went for superlatives. Incredible magnification and incredibly small prices.

In 1961 they were aiming for the amateur astronomer. The Rangemaster now offered 35x magnification. The full range was:

I wonder how many of these binoculars still survive?

References

[1] 'Why should Krushcev buy binoculars and prefer to kep it dark?' by Logan Gourlay published in the Daily Express, 8 May 1959

Add your comments



"I have a pair of Denhill skmaster binoculars in their original leather case
Do they have any value
pRULA" Frank McCready 04/12/2020

"Hi Frank,

If they are in good condition 20 to 30 pounds. best regards" Steven 05/12/2020

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

20th Century History ★ Antiques & Collectables

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ 20th Century History ★ Antiques & Collectables ★