Friday, April 6, 2018

We used to make things in this country #289, Rangefinder

 From time to time in the last few years we've had readers offer suggestions or content for a post, this is the first time we'll run a full post by someone other than the Duke or I, introducing a guest contributor, "Mic". 

I inherited this device from the estate of my father. I wish I knew more about how and why he acquired it, but that will now remain a mystery. It does serve as a reminder, however, that once upon a time Canada manufactured high quality goods for use in China.

The Barr & Stroud designed coincidence artillery rangefinder (Model C No.2 MKVI 1075-C, manufacture date 1945) was produced in Canada by REL (Research Enterprises Ltd. 1940-1946) in Leaside, Toronto. REL produced optical equipment and other goods for Canadian and allied forces during World War II.


The Chinese language use on this unit indicates that it was produced under the direction of the Mutual Aid Board, a wartime committee that was formed to ensure that Canada played an important role in equipping its allies with armaments and other military supplies where needed. In 1943, Canada committed to producing 60,000 tons of materials for allied Chinese armed forces fighting against Japanese occupational forces in China. Under pressure from the US, who had primary control over the transportation of materials to the Pacific Theatre, Canada reduced its commitment to 12,500 tons. Ultimately, these war materials did not arrive in time to be of use against Japanese occupying forces in China. Insofar as they did get put to use, it would most likely have been in fighting against the forces of the People’s Republic of China during the Chinese Civil War (1946-1949). This artillery rangefinder has an operational distance of 500m to 20,000m as per the listed minimum and maximum values of the scale.

Not surprisingly, this well-designed and Canadian built piece of equipment still works. I try to remember not to use it near airports, military bases, police stations, or any where else that it might be mistaken for a shoulder fired rocket launcher!

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