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South Jersey

Thursday, August 23, 2001
Up periscope: Big J center to get Barrington landmark

Visit these related links:
  • Complete Courier-Post battleship coverage
  • Official USS New Jersey home page

    Courier-Post Staff

    The submarine periscope stood 35 feet high at the Edmund Industrial Optics site nearly as long as 42-year-old Bev Bumarch has been alive.

    But on Wednesday, the 20-year company employee watched from the parking lot as the stainless steel periscope was removed.

    The periscope, once used on a Japanese World War II submarine, is being donated to the battleship USS New Jersey museum. There, on the Camden Waterfront, it will stand in the visitors center and offer views of the battleship and nearby Philadelphia.

    "To see it go, it's sad in a way," Bumarch said. "A lot of school groups used to come here, and the kids would look through it."

    On Aug. 29, 1959, a crane lowered the periscope into place in front of a then-new Edmund Scientific store attached to the main building. Norman Edmund, then CEO of Edmund Industrial Optics, was a collector of World War II memorabilia; he bought the periscope from a military surplus dealer.

    When the company closed all of its Edmund Scientific stores in March, it decided to donate the periscope.

    "We had more than a hundred collectors call who were interested in it, said Nicole Edmund, the company's vice president of marketing. "When the battleship museum called, we thought it was a perfect fit."

    Joe Shields, senior shipbuilder for the museum, said the periscope is an important addition to the collection.

    "Anything that has to do with naval history or the history of battleships or World War II, we're very interested in," Shields said.

    Nicole Edmund, granddaughter of Norman Edmund, watched Wednesday morning as a crane pulled the periscope from its spot in front of the store. Two dozen employees behind her applauded when it was lowered into a 40-foot-long wooden box on a flatbed truck.

    "It'll be weird to drive into work tomorrow morning and not see it there," Edmund said. "To be able to keep it here in the vicinity means a lot though."

    Minus the periscope, Edmund said, the science store site will reopen in September as Anchor Optical Surplus.

    The museum's curator, Scott Kodger, hopes to have the periscope installed at the visitors center in time for its opening next month.

    Before it's installed, the periscope will be stored in Mays Landing at Young's Ironstone Rigging. It then will be taken to the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for cleaning and maintenance work.

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