By the early 1920’s, J. D. Möller Optical Works, a small private optical shop in Wedel, designed and patented a series of high quality, compact and optically superior binoculars. The first to come to market was the 3½x15 Theatis in 1920 followed by the 6x24 Tourix and the 8x24 Turox in 1923.
The Theatis utilized a Sprenger-Leman prism while the two larger glasses incorporated the Möller prism, a modified Abbe-Koenig design.
The unique and functional design of the Möller glass was immediately apparent and Möller further promoted the glass by drawing attention to the inherently superior optical efficiency of their design, claiming better light transmission and improved contrast over porro prism glasses of the same size.
By 1923, Zeiss was the dominant manufacturer of precision optical equipment in Germany and actively engaged absorbing competitors. Recognizing a potential threat to their dominance of the marketplace because of Möller’s unique design of these compact binoculars, Zeiss initiated legal proceedings challenging Möller’s design rights, while at the same time organizing a boycott of Möller Optical Works products and services by members of the German optical industry trade association.
In 1925 Möller was forced by the realities of their economic position to seek settlement with Zeiss. In June of that year Möller submitted a proposal whereby Zeiss would be licensed to manufacture and sell products based on the Möller design. (Telita and Turita)
Financially strapped and faced with the prospects of a protracted and expensive legal battle, J. D. Möller Optical Works was forced to cease operations on October 21, 1925 to be succeeded on the same day by a “new” company, J. D. Möller Optical Works, GmbH, a stock corporation, owned 52.5% by Zeiss and the remainder by Möller. This new company acquired all of the patents and design rights of the old Möller company and shortly thereafter Zeiss commenced series production of their own compact binoculars utilizing the Möller designs and technology.
© 1999 Jack Kelly
J. D. Möller Optical Works, GmbH started making binoculars with the Möller prism again in 1950 until 1964. A new part was added to these binoculars, the adjustable forehead rest.
Following binoculars were produced in this period:
Tourix 6 x 24
Tourex 7 x 28
Marox 8 x 32
Marex 11 x 32
Noctex 10 x 40
Fernax 25 x 56 (monocular)