HELP! Ross of London gunsight telescope


War Hero
Super Moderator
OK sorry chaps, the old link didn't work, BUT by a spooky coincidence I found a thread on ARRSE with pictures of the same telescope, so, I give you -

Also a couple of pictures from t'web.
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Wrecker, good thinking, but I want brass/copper. On mine the sleeve with the wing nuts is to the right of the sticky out bit on the main body of the scope.

Surely you can get hold of some copper to hammer into shape, or, alternatively, have a look round antique shops/car boot sales to see if someones got an old knackered telescope with the required fittings you can adapt? Brass would be better though, and more in keeping with the scope

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I have today acquired a ROSS of London telescope.

I was told it is a Naval Gun Sighting telescope – details are - it is a 5 to 21 Variable Power (stamped on ring below change of power) has a serial No stamping- No. 66988 ROSS, London and another stamping NP 17 or N[SUP]o[/SUP] 17 (note –the right hand leg of the N forms the leg of the P or interferes with the [SUP]o[/SUP]). Also the numbers 453, isolated from any other stamps. It has cross hairs andthe optics are adjustable by turning the collar that has "TURN THIS TO CHANGEPOWER" machined into the knurled 2" wide collar band. Eye piece isalso adjustable to sharpen images using "FOCUSSING" machined intoanother knurled 2" wide collar.

Also attached to the barrel of the telescope is a copper band 3” long, with centrally welded threaded rods having brass wingnuts where it appears to have been mounted to a gimbal/tri-pod or possibly agun rail. It is constructed of all brass, some in original black paint with themain barrel having been lacquered (black?) though now clear-ish, and all optics are in working order. There is a small perpendicular tube, with a cap, some 2” long by 1” dia. Totallength is about 29" and is 2.5" in diameter. It weighs a good fewpounds!
I know this is an old thread, but I've seen SONAR's message on the site, where I've posted a reply. I'll repeat it here in case it's of use to others who are searching for such info - as I was!

I came across this forum after searching for info for my own recently-acquired ROSS spotting scope, a model not dissimilar to the one above. I cannot specifically ID the one in this thread, but I have accumulated a few snippets of info that I hope will help others.

The first is, it's almost certainly a 'spotting' 'scope, with crosshairs(?), and very likely used by the Royal Navy or other armed force. If it had been acquired by the armed services, then it would /should carry an 'arrowhead'/'crowsfoot' stamp on the body ('War Department Broad Arrow'), around where the other information sits.

The large number - in the OP's case, 66988 - is most likely a serial number, and also very likely can be used to roughly date the 'scope. My model has a serial number in the 40k's, and - by reference to the 'British Gunsights - the Dreadnought Project' web link above - I believe mine is the 2134 model referenced there, so likely from 1907 manufacture. At a good 20k+ higher serial number, I *think* the SONAR's 'scope will therefore be mid 1910's or so, but that is purely a guestimate. Best thing is to research other similar Ross scopes, and try and build a picture of serial numbers vs provided dates (bearing in mind that I think MOST folk will be guessing/estimating!)

A more definitive piece of info that I can provide, tho', thanks to a fellow named Keith whose son works at the company in question, is that the "note – the right hand leg of the N forms the leg of the P or interferes with the 'o'" logo mentioned by the OP is actually 'NPL', with these letter amalgamated to make the logo in question. NPL is the National Physical Laboratory (Teddington), and they were contracted to test the optics for the Navy (and Army I presume), and would stamp the scopes to indicate that this had been done. Mine has NPL 13 and NPL 25, which apparently indicates the optics were checked in 1913 and 1925; that's a useful dating aid, and would seem to confirm the rough date of mine as obviously being pre-1913 (I wonder how many years would pass before they'd first test the optics?!).

SONAR's NPL number is '17', so that (assuming the info I have been given is correct) would seemingly confirm that his was manufactured in 1917 or before - it was certainly tested in that year.

After IDing mine as (likely) to be the 2134 model, I then pondered what 'illuminated' might mean. I removed the screw cap on the side spigot, and noticed it had a glass bottom inside. I shone a torch in there, and the crosshairs lit up in amber! I guess that's what it means... That spigot might double as a mounting post? I don't know.

So, it's most likely a 'spotting' or 'targeting' 'scope as used by the RN. IF 'armed forces', tho', it should really have the Broad Arrow stamp too. Mine doesn't appear to have, so it's a bit contradictory, but it does have some further stamped 'script' letters and numbers which I've yet to discover what they mean.


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I do actually have a John CJ Knott (K&B) stand which holds it well, but suspect that's a much later vintage - 1940s-50s as that was when the K&B company operated, as far as I know.
I'll keep the gaffa tape idea in hand, tho'... :)

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