Ross binoculars - model guide

Ross made a range of high quality binoculars. They varied from small and convenient binoculars for tourists and horse racing enthusiasts, to military-style binoculars for specialists, such as sailors or big game hunters.

They did not change the range greatly in the 1960s. That policy, together with tough competition from the Far East, saw Ross disappear in 1975.

Ross Enbeeco 13x60 binoculars, 1960
Ross Enbeeco 13x60 binoculars, 1960

Sources: based on information compiled by Terrance Wayland (see home.europa.com/~telscope/Ross/Ross.model.names.by.T.Wayland.pdf, Ross catalogue, 1962 and contemporary advertisements.

(*) In 1962 catalogue.

For the Solaross range (1957 to 1975) see Ross Solaross.

Ross Steptron 8x30

The Steptron was a small, general purpose binocular. It was Zeiss-style shape. The Steptron was marketed as a binocular to take on holiday.

It was relatively light weight at 20oz.

Price (1953): £31 5s (in today's money: £600)

Ross Stepruva 9x35

Ross Stepruva binoculars
Ross Stepruva binoculars 9x35, 1957

The Ross Stepruva was a Zeiss style binocular. It was aimed at race goers who wanted a little extra power. The slightly increased objective lens sized at 35mm offered brighter vision on dull days.

It was also relatively light at 21oz.

The Stepruva was introduced by Ross in 1933.

Price (1953): £32 10s (in today's money: £640)

Ross Stepvue 8x30

These had the familiar shape of Ross military binoculars with their distinctive circular prism cases. The Stepvue was a lightweight binocular, only 15oz.

Price (1953): £33 (in today's money: £650)

Ross Steplux 7x50

These were the classic military derived binoculars. 7 x 50 was ideal for low light. They were designed for sailors who appreciated low magnification for a steady image and large objective lens for good vision at night.

These were quite heavy at 36oz.

Price (1953): £42 10 (in today's money: £840)

Ross Stepsun 12x50

These had high power and large objective lenses. They were designed for big game hunters (it was the 1950s remember). You needed a steady hand get a stable image with these.

Weight: 36oz.

Price (1953): £48 10 (in today's money: £960)

Ross Stepmur 10x50

Very similar to the Stepsun, with slightly less power. The Stepmur was aimed at bird watchers.

Weight: 36oz.

Price (1953): £48 10 (in today's money: £960)

Ross Enbeeco 13x60

These were lightweight, high magnification binoculars introduced by Ross in 1960.

The Ross Enbeeco was a collaboration between Ross and Newbold and Bulford, wholesalers of binoculars, in 1960.  They sold for £33 17s 6d.

How old are my Ross binoculars?

Ross binoculars are all marked with a serial number. There were two runs of serial numbers. One from 1899 to 1954 and another from 1954 to 1974. To establish how old your binoculars are, you need to make a guess based on the model and then work it out from the serial number.

For post-war binoculars the following guide will help:

This guide was compiled from information in the guide produced by Terence Wayland which is available here Ross serial numbers by T Wayland

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"Excellent article ,have about a dozen Ross,Barr & Stroud and Kershaw models ,B &S certainly made the most elegant Porro 11 glasses ever produced,as stated inthe article the Ross Stepruva is a great glass as good as any Zeiss or Leica from the same period.The much underated Kershaw Vanguard ,in particular he very rare 12x50 compares well with the Zeiss 12x50 Nobilem of two decades later." john tate 24/11/2015

"Missing on your list are the rare 7x70 navy Ross Binos,Navy Issue,Tropicalised,and coated from the late 40s!I owned a pair which i sold to a Binocular collector a number of years past!" Clive Howes 22/01/2016

"Thank you, being a collector this is valuable information and esp. Mr. Wayland's detailed lists. Sad though that you don't cover the intire production, the first and second serie that from mr. Waylands lists count round 3000 pieces from first serie and it seem 30000 pieces from second serie. I'm particularly looking for information of the Ross "Deatron" 1910, 3X13, Opera prism glasses. Found a mint pair on Ebay, but they seem so rare that it is almost impossible to find information, except a line in Mr. Wayland's list. Without that details about this lovely little Gem could be forgotten, it is hard enough to find detail information of first series, even it is described "the first english prism binocular", -- (The model with Barton Patent arms). Bad when you think of, what you can find about early german binoculars." Per Corell 23/03/2016

"Any information aboutTHESE BINOCULARS.

Enbeeco TRENTOR coated optics 8 x 30 Field 75 SERIAL NO 18746" Bernie Maguire 22/04/2016

"Hi
I'm trying to find more about my Dad's Ross binoculars. I've checked all of the websites but don't know anything about how he was given them and when. They are RegP No 55480 /O.S. 735 G.A. Bin Prism No 5. Mk 1V and still live in their original leather case. The serial number doesn't appear on the T. Wayland list.
Dad, Viv Squibbs was an officer in the Royal Navy Reserve and survived the Atlantic Crossings through WW2; only being ship wrecked once. I think that may be when his binoculars may have received a bang. They still work but focusing isn't as good as it should be. So I'm also interested in finding out how It can be fixed and the cost of it.
I do hope you can advise me.
Regards Pam" Pam 25/07/2016

"Hi Team
I have just been handed a set of oldish Binoculars.
ROSS, London no 54364
Stereo Prism Binocular
Power =10
In a brown leather case
Any ideas on age, value, are they very sort after ??
Any infoo on these would be good
Regards Harry" Harry Pankhurst 14/06/2017

"Hi could you tell me the date of my binoculars please They are Ross of London 10x50 stepmur serial no 7371 thankyou." Chris 29/06/2017

"I have a pair of Ross 9x35 Stepruva binoculars serial number 8317. I would like to know how old they are, and any information pertaining to them. Thank you." Mark Smith 09/08/2017

"Interesting but alas too short article on a very fine English manufacturer, whose binoculars ranked with the worlds best .Optical and Build quality were second to none and form the basis of many superb private collections" Rob 28/08/2017

"I have a pair of old army binoculars with Ross prismatic No.5 Mk 4 "Ross" (Aust)/1 , and the serial No 47679 on them , is there any way of dating them please , thanks for any help given .
Regards,
Andy C." andy crawford 19/02/2018

"Also on the binoculars besides as having Binoculars prismatic No5 MK4 " Ross" ( Aust)/1 ,on a small metal plate on each side of the eye pieces they have another plate with reticle mils 10 apart 5.10.20 high on them , these are Army issue binoculars, but as I stated on my first email ( I forgot to put what was on the second small tag , so if they can be dated that would be appreciated for any help given.
Best Regards,
Andy C. Australia." andy crawford 19/02/2018

"This site you never get a reply to your question!!!" Chris 29/04/2018

"The Stepmur binoculars you mention were made between 1954 and 1957. There is a table just above these comments where you can match approximate serial numbers to dates. I hope this answers your question. Best regards" Steven 29/04/2018

"I bought a pair of binoculars the old leather case is marked ROSS.Ltd 111 NEW BOND St and 31 COCKSPUR St LONDON The binoculars are quite small and fit the case perfectly but there are no markings at all on them could they have been made by ROSS ? or will I never know who made them .JIM" JIM WALKER 02/06/2018

"The case dates the binoculars to between 1897 and 1912. I'm not really an expert on the early models. I have seen a pair marked Ross, London, but only visible when the binoculars were fully extended." Steven 02/06/2018

"I have a pair of Ross binoculars marked
'Stereo Prism Binoculars'
'Power = 8'
marked with serial no. 93648
Can anyone tell me how old these are?" Mike 06/10/2018

"Hi Mike,
From the description and the number I'd say 1920s. Best regards" Steven 07/10/2018

"have stereo prism power 6 binoculars no 8 no 85970 need value they have bakelite cups with blacked out brass for battle" Ben 17/04/2019

"We have a good size binocular collection among those, both first and second serie. Just found a first serie, that carry "Barton arms" and center focus we now store four If. and Cf. first serie and a number of second serie these are the first english prism binoculars. Compared what the price of the first series of Zeiss, Ross are seriously underestimated. Search Google about "Ross first serie"" Ross binoculars 19/07/2019

"How old Ross print binoculars 13x40 serial no 92234 many thanks my email Dunne.paul@hotmail.com" Paul dunne 06/10/2019

"I have a pair of Ross Lancaster binoculars that I inherited from my Dad. Do you have info about the possible years of manufacture of these?" Nick 15/03/2020

"I have a pair of Ross Prismatic No3 Mk1 Number 2785.
I notice on the web pages that this serial number showes Missing. Any thoughts please?.
Thank you" Joseph Shackell 29/06/2020

"i have a superb pair of 1916 8x30 binoculars in my collection with a case by a company called Garstin
Superb optics but only marks on the binoculars is a M#
They look like Kershaw make but cant be sure
Any ideas please" m hearn 06/07/2020

"I have a pair of Ross binoculars see. No. 94832 stereo prism power 8 could you tell me how old they are. Regards John Stoddart" John Stoddart 25/07/2020

"just got a pair of ross 7x42 ross but noticed that front lenses are held in with a ring instead of being glued on in the awful way my other solaross glasses are
Perhaps Ross realised their mistake in that regard" m hearn 18/08/2020

"I think Ross tried to make the Solaross as cheap as possible. The idea was to compete with glasses at the lower end of the market, but still offer quality optics. They cut a lot of corners. For a time it worked though. The Solaross sold really well and it kept Ross in business." Steven 19/08/2020

"Hi, I have a Ross binocular case that seems to be a bit longer than normal.
It is 11 inches long and 7 inches wide. I would like to send you some pictures but i can not seem to do it on this site. If you send me a message I can do it from there.
All the best Simon." Simon Parow 21/08/2020

"Hi Simon,

If you want to contact me. My email is steven@retrowow.co.uk" Steven 21/08/2020

"I have my father's Ross binoculars in original case with a serial number from 1954-57 according to your chart. They are marked: Stereo Prism Binocular, Power=7 Field 914 "STEPNADA". Was it usual to give the binoculars a name?" Anne Smith 27/08/2020

"Hi Anne,
Most Ross models had the prefix Step. A later model the Solaross did not follow this. But most by Ross had names. Other manufacturers may have just used numbers.

Would it be possible to say what the serial number is? The information I have is that Ross dropped the Stepnada in 1948. It does not appear in 1950s catalogues. The Stepnada was introduced in 1927, but discontinued in 1948. However, some may have been made in the 1950s. A serial number from c1928 might be 960000. If it was made in the 50s it would have much lower number." Steven 27/08/2020

"I have inherited a pair of Ross mk2 no 5 from my father in law. The serial number is 5905 and the leather case is marked with case mk. 1 0.8. 097

Below the handle on the case it also says pi.

Can you help me get more information about them please.

Thank you" Maria Kingham 15/10/2020

"Hi Maria,
I have a pair of No. 5 binoculars which are also Mk2. Mine has a serial number of 1441 and it is marked 1939. The army issue serial numbers are different from the civilian ones quoted in this page. The Mk II was made from 1939 to 1941 when it was replaced by the Mk III. I expect yours is an early one from 1939 or 1940.

Best regards" Steven 17/10/2020

"I have a pair of Ross Stepnada 7x30 141361 binoculars. Could anyone help me with anymore info please? Regards Karen Moss" Karen Moss 01/12/2020

"Hi Karen,

I think your Stepnada is from the late 1940s. Best regards" Steven 02/12/2020

"When clearing out my late parents house, I've discovered a pair of Ross binoculars (Galilean style) and a leather case for them. The only markings on the binoculars are "Ross London" on the eye pieces and "x5" and "2 7/16" on the cross bar. The case is stamped twice with "3484" and what looks like a small flower design. Inside the lid is worded "Ross London Ltd 11L New Bond St & 31 Cockspur St". Any ideas as their age etc?" Peter 21/01/2021

"Hello, My dad had a pair of Ross London Binos that are 9x35 SOLAROSS. #16604. My Dad, Ashley (Tony) Johnson flew Avro Lancasters in WWII. My understanding is he flew 52 missions before being moved to transports. Anyway, Dumb me dropped them and now the view is off. Anyone know where to get repaired? Also, any other info about them would be great. Thanks Ian." Ian Johnson 21/03/2021

"Hi Ian,
The serial number is going to date them to the late 1950s.

There are some good tips about re-alignment in the comments on the Soloross page. See the link above. best regards" Steven 21/03/2021

"I have a set of 8x40 Solaross Binos which belonged to my late father-in-law. The serial # is 75626. What year are they and my wife was going to put them in the bin. I think they just need a good clean! Many thanks" David Luetchford 26/03/2021

"Hi David, The serial number 75626 puts them in the early 1970s, between 1970 and 1975. best regards" Steven 26/03/2021

"Hi, I have a ROSS, London No.20299 Prism Binocular Power x10 with the leather case. About what year are these. Do you know what they were primarily sold for?
Thanks
Peter (Australia)" Peter Varis 16/06/2021

"Hi Peter,
Is there any other detail on the binoculars such as a model name?" Steven 16/06/2021

"No other details on the binoculars. They have a leather case, purple velvet lined, leather strap to the binocular. Single centre wheel focus, quite small objective lens - 23mm dia, black leather covering on barrel, brass. Flared ocular approx 22mm to 32mm. Potentially with a diopter setting on RH ocular." Peter Varris 18/06/2021

"They are from the early twentieth century. Probably around 1905-1908." Steven 18/06/2021

"Hi I have a pair of ross of London no.1186
Can anyone tell me what time frame they are from and it has an anchor above the number they are brass and leather barreled found them in my grandmother's house and just want to know who old they are" Robert 17/07/2021

"Ross used different runs of serial numbers. I'm guessing this is not a prismatic binocular. If that's the case it is from the early 1900s." Steven 17/07/2021

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

20th Century History ★ Antiques & Collectibles

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ 20th Century History ★ Antiques & Collectibles ★