West Sea Company

21. Telescopes & Optics

Prices in U.S. Dollars are in GREEN




21.11   HISTORIC, VERY  PRESENTATION TELESCOPE!   Without question the  most significant presentation item we have offered in our 35+ years, involving the Queen of England and an American President!  This classic two-draw mariner’s telescope is all brass with original optics, eyepiece and objective fittings,  beautifully-engraved in fancy script on the draw near the eyepiece “Dollond, London, Day or Night”  The eyepiece with original dust slide is of the early-form “nipple” type.  The perfect 1 ¾ inch achromatic objective lens is protected by a press-fit lens cap with its own sliding dust cover.  The body of the telescope is housed in a rich Moroccan leather covering in like new condition.  The piece-de-resistance of this offering is the meticulously hand-engraved inscription on the sun shade barrel.  It reads:

Presented
On behalf of
~ Queen Victoria ~
~ by ~
JAMES BUCHANAN, ESQ.
her Majestys Consul for NEW-YORK
~to~
~Mr. SAMUEL RICH~
First Officer of the Packet Ship Rhone
JAMES WOTTEN ESQr COMMANDER
as an acknowledgement of his humane Efforts in
rescuing from Death
~CAPTAIN McNICOLL~
and ten of the crew of the
British Barque Belinda of
TROON
Upon the 22nd day of November
~ 1840~

The inscription is clear, deep and untouched.  The surrounding brass has acquired a deep statuary bronze patina that does not appear to have been polished or cleaned since its inception 177 years ago!   The telescope itself is in an amazing state of preservation and is fully functional providing a highly magnified upright image of great clarity.  The draws pull in and out with a smooth, tight fit.  It measures 15 inches closed by 2 ½ inches in diameter and extends to 38 ½ inches long.  Without a doubt this exquisite lifesaving relic would find a prominent place in any major American or British Museum.  6295

Even more historical provenance could be found for this important historical relic by researching the American packet ship RHONE and the British bark BELINDA.

Alexandra Victoria (1819 – 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom from 1837 until 1901.  Her reign of 63+ years was known as the “Victorian Era,” at the peak of the British Empire.  It was a period which saw the greatest cultural, political, scientific and industrial changes in world history.  Only recently was the duration of Victoria’s reign eclipsed by the current British monarch Queen Elizabeth II.

James Buchanan Jr. (1791 – 1868) was the 15th President of the United States (1857 – 61), serving immediately prior to the American Civil War and the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln.   A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 17th United States Secretary of State and served in the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives.

Buchanan was born in Pennsylvania and became a prominent lawyer in the town of Lancaster.  He was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1820 and later won a seat in the United States House of Representatives, aligned with Andrew Jackson's Democratic Party.  President Jackson appointed him Minister to Russia.  It was during that time he made this presentation on behalf of Queen Victoria.  Soon after, Buchanan was elected senator of Pennsylvania.  In 1845, he accepted President James K. Polk's appointment as Secretary of State.   While in that position, the land mass of the United States grew tremendously with the addition of the Oregon Territory and annexation of the Southwest as a result of the Mexican War.   From 1853 to 1856, during the presidency of Franklin Pierce (1853 – 1856) Buchanan served as the United States’ Ambassador to Britain.   Buchanan won his party's Presidential nomination in 1856, defeating Pierce and Senator Stephen Douglas at the 1856 Democratic National Convention.  He went on to become President, defeating Fremont and Fillmore in the 1856 election.  He was succeeded by Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

extended
ocular

objective dust slide
objective cover

inscription 1
inscription 2

maker

Order Info

 


 


21.10  EARLY SEA CAPTAIN’s SPYGLASS.  Extra nice, early 1800’s English hand-held telescope signed by the makers on the ocular end of the main barrel “ASHMORE & OSBORNE, DAY OR NIGHT LONDON.”  This classic 2-draw sea telescope has a large wooden body turned from a solid piece of rich mahogany.  Both ends are of brass, attached with tiny screws to the wood.  The perfect objective lens is of the achromatic type (hence the description “day or night”) and is protected by a press fit cover with spring-loaded dust slide.  All internal optics are original and free from flaws.  The eyepiece is of the early “nipple” type, and retains its original dust slide as well.  The two draws slide in and out smoothly with a nice tight fit.  The highly magnified image is surprisingly clear and bright with no distortion typical of many telescopes of this early vintage.   It measures 16 inches closed and lengthens to 3 feet ½ inch fully extended.  Overall cosmetic and functional condition is outstanding.  The wooden barrel is in its original finish, free from cracks or dents, yet exhibiting good age from years of careful use.  All brass surfaces show a rich age patina.  This is just about as nice a telescope of its type that can be found.  Over 185 years old!  895

William Ashmore and Thomas Osborne were partners as opticians, spectacle makers and optical instrument makers from 1825 to 1837.  (Gloria Clifton, “Directory of British Scientific Instrument makers 1550-1851,” 1995, The National Maritime Museum).


extended
ocular

objective
objective end

objective dust slide
makers

Order Info

 


 


21.09  EARLY FRENCH BINOCULARS.   Fourth quarter 19th century military-type binoculars as used by the French Army and Navy in the late 1800’s.  This beautifully-preserved pair is marked “*La Reine* Paris” on each of the Bakelite eye cups.  Construction is all brass with typical high quality French black lacquer on the surfaces.  The main body is covered in leather as are the extendable sun shades.  Focusing is accomplished by a knurled Bakelite knob in the center which provides a very fine adjustment when turned.  The perfect 2 ¼ inch objective lenses produce a clear upright image magnified about 4 times.  Later binoculars incorporating prisms to extend the focal length and hence the magnification were heavier and more bulky.  This early, straight through example is in virtually perfect original condition!  7 inches long extended by 5 inches wide.  Remarkable original condition.  Well over 100 years old!  249


objectives
observers view

maker

Order Info

 




5.10 / 21.08  QUARTERMASTER’s TELESCOPE.   Absolutely finest quality telescope made for the U.S. Navy early in World War II.  This hand-held spyglass is marked “U.S. NAVY SPYGLASS QUARTERMASTER MARK II, 16 POWER BU. SHIPS 1942 HAYWARD LOS ANGELES” on the ocular.  The long tapered barrel extends to the state-of-the-art objective, 2 ½ inches in diameter.  It is housed in a very clever hexagonal rubber protector (removable) which prevented the lens from being cracked if the telescope was dropped or rolled off a table.  The barrel retains its factory- wrapped covering, woven on both ends with decorative Turk’s head knots encircling the barrel.  The telescope is housed in its original hardwood box with hinged lid and pivoting brass lock closures.  The telescope itself measures 30 ¾ inches long and its box measures 32 inches long by 5 inches wide and 5 inches thick.  The front of the box bears the embossed brass maker’s label reading “U.S. NAVY SPYGLASS Quartermaster Mark II 16 Power. Bu. Ships, Hayward Lumber and Inv. Co., Los Angeles.”  This telescope and its original wooden box are in remarkable, virtually mint condition after 75 years!  The superb optics produce a highly magnified image of jaw dropping quality!  Certainly the best such example we have seen in our nearly 40 years in this business.  Ideal as a retirement gift or simply as functional home or travel item.  795

A local competitor is offering a lesser Navy telescope in non-original condition for $995.

The same telescope offered here, mounted on a tripod and without the original box, has been offered by various dealers at prices of $2,500 and more.

(See item 21.85)



telescope
objective

ocular
box

maker
maker detail

Order Info


 


21.07  17th CENTURY TELESCOPE.  Very rare, late 17th or very early 18th century mariner’s telescope in the Galileo style by the Italian master Leonardo Semiticolo as impressed on the ocular end of the main barrel.  This 2-draw telescope is made of paper and vellum with turned horn eye pieces, sections and ends.  Its clever construction makes for a very lightweight instrument manageable with a single hand.  The red orange barrel is decorated with recurring geometric, floral and bead-like designs.  The 2 draws are greenish yellow with a mottled surface.  Both are marked with concentric rings indicating the position of distention for infinity.  The eye piece of turned horn is of the early “nipple” form retaining its original screw-on dust cap.  Remarkably, the objective also retains it original dust cover.  This is absolutely amazing after more than 300 years!  The telescope measures 28 inches long fully extended and compresses to 12 ½ inches closed.  The original optics provided a surprisingly clear, highly magnified image with the chromatic aberration characteristic of pre-1750 telescopes.  Excellent condition in all respects.  A true museum piece.  Price Request 


CLOSED
OBJECTIVE

OCULAR
SIGNATURE

 


21.72

21.72  EARLY TRIPOD TELESCOPE.  Fabulous, late 18th century English library telescope made by “D: JONES, CHARING, CROSS, LONDON.” as engraved on the end of the barrel.  This handsome all brass refracting telescope has a tapered main barrel affixed to a complex equatorial mount set atop graceful Queen Anne style cabriole tripod legs.  By means of rotating tabs, the gearing on the mount allows the viewer to make minute adjustments in both train and elevation of the telescope, most useful during celestial observations.  Further, the mount allows the viewer to make large vertical and horizontal adjustments and provides a knob to “lock in” the desired direction once it is obtained.  With its achromatic doublet objective lens and all original internal erecting system this telescope produces a crisp, clear upright image of high magnification with no chromatic distortion.  Focusing is accomplished by a smooth rack and pinion system operated by a large knurled brass knob.  To these ends the telescope is equipped with both interchangeable terrestrial and astronomical eye pieces.  The terrestrial eyepiece has a built-in sun filter which cleverly doubles as a pivoting dust cover.  The celestial eyepiece is also equipped with a dust cover.  This state-of-the-art scientific instrument has an overall length of 38 ½ inches, standing 23 inches tall as shown and measuring 12 ½ inches wide at the base of the tripod.  The main barrel is 27 ½ inches long with a maximum diameter of 2 5/8 inches and the objective lens measures 2 1/8 inches in diameter.  The entire presentation stores snugly in its original fitted mahogany box with hinged lid, 2 hook and eye closures and original functional box lock with skeleton key!  It is in an absolutely remarkable state of original preservation with virtually no cracks, chips or losses.  This condition for such a carrying case of this age is virtually unheard of!  The telescope itself is in fine cosmetic condition, noting some minor distress in the bottom of the main barrel, noted here only for thoroughness of description.  A lovely, fully functional high grade optical device 220 years old! HOLD

In 1766 David Jones (I) was apprenticed to the famous master optical instrument maker and inventor, Benjamin Martin (w. 1738-1777).  Thereafter Jones was listed as a mathematical instrument maker and optician, first at 25 Charing Cross, London, then 35 Charing Cross from 1785 to 1793.  (Gloria Clifton, “British Scientific Instrument Makers 1555-1851, The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, 1995.)


21.72REVERSE
21.72OBJECTIVE

21.72MOUNT

REVERSE
OBJECTIVE

MOUNT


21.72INBOX

21.72BOX

21.72SIGNATURE

IN BOX

BOX

SIGNATURE




21.06  TELESCOPE TRIPOD.  Genuine early 19th century table tripod for a premium quality library telescope of the period.  This authentic, heavy solid brass tripod is of English origin with lovely Queen Anne cabriolet tripod legs which support a gradually tapered strut.   This strut supports the telescope mount at the top.  The mount is fully articulated with train and elevation functions which are smooth and tight with no play – as required of such a quality instrument.   24 ½ inches long overall.  19 inches tall as configured.  The footprint is 14 ¼ inches on the three legs.   Weight 8 pounds.   Outstanding original condition in a high polished brass finish with preservation coating.  Guaranteed to be over 100 years old.   695

A telescope adapted to this tripod, will easily double in value.


DETAIL
FOLDED

TRIPOD

Order Info


 

21.85

21.85  U.S. NAVY QUARTERMASTER’s  SPYGLASS.  Authentic World War II era spyglass of the type used by bridge personnel underway and the officer to the deck in port.  This high quality optical device is marked “U.S. NAVY BU. SHIPS QM. 16-POWER MK.1 NO. 24068 / 1942” on the eyepiece end.  The eyepiece is knurled to enable focusing from -6 to plus 6 diopters, which it does very smoothly.  The long tapered barrel is of brass covered in a faux leather material.  The large clear objective lens is housed in it blackened brass retainer in perfect condition.   It provides an upright image of high magnification with some small specks noticeable in the field.  This spyglass measures 31 inches long by 3 inches wide on the objective end.  It is complete in it original felt-lined dove-tailed oak box with brass hinges and closures.  The inlaid brass maker’s label reads “Kollmorgen Optical Corp. 16-POWER QM. SPYGLASS U.S.N. BU. SHIPS Serial No. 24068.” The box measures 32 ¼ inches long, 4 ¾ inches wide and 4 ¾ inches high.  Overall cosmetic condition is “excellent."  Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

“QM” stands for Quarter Master, those sailors whose rate comprised shipboard activities such as navigation, lookouts, timekeeping and underway operations.


21.85
21.85
21.85
TELESCOPE
OBJECTIVE
OCULAR END

21.85
21.85
MAKER
BOX

Order Info



21.04  ANTIQUE TELESCOPE.  Very scarce octagonal barrel captain’s spyglass dating from the early 18th century.  It is a genuine relic from the early days of sail made in England which features a long 8-side barrel carved from a single piece of rich mahogany.  This old sea veteran has several distinctive features which reveal its great age.  It has the early form reverse taper characteristic of telescopes manufactured from the 1680's.  The objective end with traditional brass collar has a sliding lens cover housing its single piece objective lens measuring only 7/8ths inches in diameter!  The draw tube contains only three (not the usual 4) erecting lenses.  These single element lenses are held in by threaded retainers, not rolled in as with later 18th and 19th century telescopes.  The ocular consists of a later knurled brass eye cup with built-in pivoting dust cover.  Another early aspect is the fact that the draw tube slides in and out of the barrel freely with no stop.  In combination the all original lens system provides a magnified image with the telltale “chromatic fringe” characteristic of the earliest telescopes.  Cosmetically it is in outstanding original condition with no dents cracks or other flaws – just great old age.  25 inches long closed and 30 ½ inches long extended.  A beautiful example approximately 300 years old. Certainly a museum piece!  Price Request

The technology of lens making and the grinding of optical glass was in its infancy at the time this telescope was made.  Glass, without occlusions was hard to make.  Accordingly, lens makers reverted to small, thin glass lenses which could be enhanced by increasing their focal lenth.  The result was the charateristic long telesope barrel with very small objective lens.  But Peter Dolland's patent of the achromatic lens in 1751 changed telescope manufacturing for the ages.


draw

draw 2


objective
objective end

Order Info




21.03   U.S. NAVY TRIPOD TELESCOPE.   Absolutely the ultimate in U.S. Naval optics, this is a pre-World War II vintage flag bridge telescope.  A precious few such telescopes were also configured for exploratory landing party use and were mounted to their rarely found U.S. Navy terrestrial tripods..  Because of the stresses and abuse that such arduous use inflicted, few survived.  Represented here is a very scarce original example in virtually perfect condition in all respects!  Made of heavy solid brass this telescope has the finest state-of-the-art optics of its time produced by the highly respected Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. as marked on the silver maker’s plaque on top of the barrel:  “SHIP’s TELESCOPE Mk I MOD.  BU. SHIP’S U.S. NAVY (N) 255, 1940  B & L OPT CO.”  The barrel has two sighting pins mounted on top and a built-in sun shade protecting the 3 inch objective lens.   A large handle is attached to the left side for conveniently training and elevating.  A set of internal rotating filters are provided for maximum clarity in sunlit, hazy or low light conditions.   They are selected by means of a knurled brass knob just below the eyepiece.  The ocular provides a 28X image of exceptional clarity and brightness.  Focusing is accomplished by turning the knurled adjustment ring with a range of -4 to +2 diopters in ¼ increments.  The telescope body is supported by its extremely heavy thick bronze collar with trunnions suspended in the equally heavy solid bronze yoke.  Removal of the telescope when not in use is made by loosening the hinged trunnion caps with knurled locking lugs.  The yoke has a stout bronze support spindle which fits snugly into the tripod “spider,” complete with bearing and even a zerk grease fitting!  The end of the spindle is finished off with an extra large brass cap nut.  The yoke bears a silver maker’s tag reading, “MOUNT For SHIP’s TELESCOPE Mk I Mod.  BU. SHIP’S 1940 B & L OPT. CO.”  the spider is also solid bronze and is marked in high relief “U.S. NAVY Tripod model 660 U.S. Metal Products Co., New York.”  A brass collar fits over the spindle allowing the height of eye to be raised or lowered by 5 inches.  The high quality tripod legs, made of finest hardwood maple have all brass fittings and are tipped with bronze “feet.”   A central brass chain allows for splaying the legs to different widths.  This feature allows for further height adjustment and stability.  The legs are detachable from the spider by means of large brass butterfly wing nuts.  The barrel of the telescope measures 28 ½ inches long as pictured with protective screw-on ocular cover.  The barrel is 4 ¾ inches in diameter.  The entire assembly stands 64 ½ inches tall as shown.  This measurement is with the 5 inch height adjusting collar inserted.   The footprint of the tripod as shown is 29 inches between each leg.  The condition, both cosmetically and functionally of the entire unit is nothing short of spectacular -- particularly in light of the fact it is over 75 years old! At the time of its manufacture, this unit cost the Government more than the price of a car. Serious inquiries only please. Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top


TELESCOPE
REVERSE

TOP VIEW
OCULAR

OBJECTIVE
MOUNT
MAKER

SPIDER
SPIDER REVERSE

Order Info




21.79 EXTRA FANCY VICTORIAN ERA STEREO VIEWER AND MAGNIFIER.  This beautiful, high quality optical instrument is as decorative as it is functional.  It consists of three-tiers of ebonized hardwood profusely engraved with floral decorations embellish in gold.  On the top front is a large monocular lens for viewing photographs in detail.  Below it a pair of oculars are for viewing stereo cards.   A height-adjustable pierced wooden support mounted on two brass rods is provided for holding a card or photo.  It is also adjustable for depth, sliding back and forward in grooves on each side.  The front of this viewer is hinged with a brass “stay” on the right to lock it in the upright viewing position.  When not in use it folds closed on a friction latch.  The bottom tier is equipped with a wooden track and folding arm which allows the viewer to be inclined to one of three preset angles.  The front bears the oval brass maker’s plaque reading “76  .UNIS . FRANCE  3   STEREOSCOPES -  PARIS”  10 ½  inches long by 6 ¾ inches wide and 3 inches thick when closed, elevating to a working height of 16 ¾ inches.  Superb original condition. 1395

This offering comes complete with several stereo viewing cards with extremely interesting subject matter.


CLOSED
BASE
FRONT

IMAGE
STEREO CARD

CARDS ONE
CARDS TWO

MAKER

Order Info

Back to Top



21.99  EARLY 18th CENTURY TELESCOPE.  Impressive, first half of the 1700’s mariner’s telescope of English manufacture.  Known as a “decahedral” telescope for its uniquely faceted 10-sided barrel, this hand-held telescope exhibits many early characteristics.  Foremost is its distinctive barrel carved from a single piece of solid mahogany. The objective end features a classic flared brass lens holder containing a single pre-achromatic lens.  The extremely long barrel was a necessary function of early opticians being unable to grind glass lenses thick enough to provide adequate magnification with a short focal length.  As such they were relegated to making long, often ungainly, telescopes to provide a sufficiently enhanced image.  The early draw tube is also telling.  The brass tube containing a 4 element erecting system simply pulls out of the main barrel with no stop! … A feature indicative of these earliest marine telescopes.  Further, the erecting system is comprised of 4 separate thin glass lenses held in place with threaded retainers – not rolled in, like later telescopes.  The draw is cast brass, not brass tubing, and is threaded together in 3 separate sections.  The early form “nipple” eyepiece is another indication of the extreme age of this telescope.  This old mariner’s relic is in wonderful original condition considering its 250+ years.  All components are original and functional.  The sliding objective dust cover is away and there are a couple of insignificant, non-structural cracks in the barrel at the ocular end.  The telescope provides a clear, highly magnified upright image with minor color distortion on the periphery of the field, as expected.   Hence the name, “non achromatic.” It measures 38 inches in length closed and extends to 43 ½ inches long.  A museum quality relic from the early days of sail.  Price Request


eye piece
ocular

draw
objective

Order Info

Back to Top


21.86

21.86  EARLY TELESCOPE by IMPORTANT MAKER.  Especially rare, 10-sided, reverse tapered spyglass made by the famous London optician and nautical instrument maker George Adams.  This wonderful surviving example of a decahedral telescope is signed on the single draw in elegant cursive script “Adams, London.”   Evidencing its early origins this spyglass has an unusual 5 element erecting system in the single draw vs. the usual 4.  The lenses are held in by threaded retainers instead of being “rolled in,” as exemplified in later telescopes.  Together with the singlet, non-achromatic objective lens 1 1/8 inches in diameter, the system provides a sharp, highly magnified image with the typical peripheral chromatic aberration characteristic of pre-1750 telescopes.  The barrel is constructed of one solid piece of mahogany, hollowed out in the traditional decahedral form.  The draw, with early-form “nipple” has no stop, meaning it will pull free from the main barrel.  Again this is a characteristic indicative of only the earliest hand held telescopes.  Both of the spring-loaded objective and ocular dust slides are in place and operate properly.  The overall condition of this telescope can only be described as nothing short of amazing original condition in consideration of its seaborne life spanning more than 260 years!  The barrel is in its original finish with expected minor scuffs and mars from actual use.  All of the brass components have acquired a rich, deep age patina.  All 6 of the original glass lenses are in perfect condition.  31 inches long overall.  The main barrel measures 24 ½ inches long and is 1 ¾ inches thick at the widest.  Another of our museum quality offerings representing a real prize for the finest collection.   2600

George Adams (the first) was without question a premiere English maker of his time.  Born in 1698, he was apprenticed to James Parker in 1724 and began his own business at Shoe Lane, London in 1733.  In 1750 he received a patent for his telescope and was awarded the honor of appointment as maker to the Prince of Wales, George III, in 1760.  (Gloria Clifton, “Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1440-1851,” 1995, The National Maritime Museum.)

Peter Dollond (1731-1821,) son of inventor John Dollond, was widely credited with producing an effective achromatic lens, for which he was granted a Royal patent in 1758.  Up to that time limitations in glass making and lens grinding had made it necessary to manufacture small, thin lenses with long focal lengths in order to obtain maximum magnification.   Accordingly, early high-powered refracting telescopes such as this example, required unusually long barrels in relationship to the diameter of their objective lens.


21.86
21.86
DRAW
OCULAR
21.86
21.86
OBJECTIVE
SIGNATURE

Order Info



21.4  BINOCULAR MICROSCOPE.   High grade 19th C. English microscope made for the American market, signed and serial numbered on the base "R. & J. Beck, London 7072." and further engraved on the main tube "J W QUEEN & Co. Agents, Philadelphia & New York."  This finely crafted all brass compound microscope features adjustable Wenham-style binocular body tubes mounted on a sturdy base and stands 14 inches tall as shown. It is complete with a total of 4 objectives and 4 ocular lenses.  It is housed in a lovely African mahogany box with brass furniture measuring 16 inches long.  The lower till houses numerous glass slides while the upper section holds the additional optics, with 11 slots being empty including a separate slot for a light magnifier which is also missing.  Of course the beauty of the innovation embodied in this microscope was the fact that the researcher could view a particular object with both eyes providing a clearer stereoscopic subject.  This rare instrument is in excellent, untouched original condition with most of its original lacquered surfaces.  It is functional and all adjustments operate smoothly and properly.  A most handsome presentation! 2195

The body tubes of this microscope were designed by W. H. Wenham in 1861, and are adjustable by means of a knurled knob that controls a rack and pinion gear set.  A triangular base supports the limb, which has an adjustable inclination angle through a series of holes in the limb that fit a tabbed hinge plate.  Coarse focus is achieved through a set of knobs that move the inner pillar tube up and down through a rack gear set.  The top of the pillar contains a fine focus knob.  A circular stage contains a central aperture and has a slide carrier to assist in translating specimens during viewing.  According to Turner, this form of the microscope stand was designed specifically to accommodate the Wenham binocular tube and was called "The Popular Microscope".

Richard and Joseph Beck joined in a partnership as opticians at 31 Cornhill, London from 1867-1894.  They were noted for their fine quality microscopes, and were admitted to the Microscopial Society of London.  

James W. Queen & Co. were in business as opticians at 48 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia from 1860-1893.


WITH ACCESSORIES
BOX

Order Info

Back to Top




21.96  18th C. TELESCOPE.  Excellent late 18th century table tripod telescope made by one of England’s most noted makers of the 1700’s, “John Browning, London” as signed in lovely hand-engraved script on the eyepiece. This handsome telescope is of the refracting type with a perfect  2  inch achromatic objective lens, which in combination with the original internal optics produces a clear, upright image of surprising clarity and magnification.  It was hand- made from the finest quality pure brass and is in a bright lacquered finish.  To aid in sighting a distant object this telescope is equipped with an auxiliary “sighting scope” to pinpoint the subject.  The main ocular draw slides in and out for coarse focusing and a precision rack and pinion system with a knurled knob accomplishes fine focusing with a tight action.   An added bonus is that this telescope comes with a second interchangeable eyepiece providing the viewer with the choice of two magnifying powers.  One of the eyepieces is marked “135.”  Both accept an interchangeable screw-on sun filter cap.  What’s more, this scope is equipped with the scarce and highly prized feature of having a right angle prismatic eyepiece which provides easy viewing without having to look down the axis of the telescope when it is pointed skyward.  The heavy solid brass tripod with Queen Anne cabriole legs makes for a stable viewing platform.  The tripod base measures 10 inches wide from leg to leg.  The main barrel is 38 1/2 inches long and  is 3 1/8 inches in diameter.  Overall it measures 43 inches long at infinity.  This telescope is complete with its original mahogany box having brass hinges, unique pivoting box closures and its original functional skeleton lock with key!  The early, hand-dovetailed solid wood (not plywood) construction of the box lent itself to cracks as the wood dried over the centuries.  However the cracks have been stabilized with an old repair and the box is quite sturdy and functional.  The box measures  40 inches long by 8 1/2 inches wide and is 5 5/8 inches thick.  Cosmetically this telescope is in virtually perfect condition and the original optics render an image of unbelievable clarity and magnification for such an instrument well over 200 years old!.  Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

John Browning (I) was a mathematical instrument maker who worked in London from 1781 – 1811.  He was apprenticed to Richard Rust in 1768 although he was apparently not involved in the prolific scientific instrument making firm of Spencer, Browning & Rust which worked contemporarily from 1784.  (Gloria Clifton, “Dictionary of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851,”  1995, The National Maritime Museum, London).


box
perspective

in box
detail

objective
eye piece
signature

Order Info

 


 


21.94  ASTRONOMICAL TELESCOPE.  Superb, most impressive 3rd quarter of the 19th century library telescope by one of England’s most famous scientific instrument makers, “Negretti & Zambra, London” as boldly engraved on the ocular end of the main barrel.  This exceptional instrument is absolutely of the highest quality.  It was hand- made entirely of heavy, pure brass finished in its original gold-orange lacquered finish.  The smooth brass barrel measures 42 ½ inches long by 3 ½ inches in diameter and 51 inches long fully extended.  The big achromatic objective lens measures 3 3/8 inches in diameter and is in perfect condition.  This telescope is complete with its two original interchangeable eye pieces marked “75” and “90.”  There are also two screw-on optical sun filters of different shades.  To aid in sighting a distant object this telescope is equipped with an auxiliary “sighting scope” to pinpoint the subject.  The main ocular draw slides in and out for coarse focusing and a precision rack and pinion system with a lovely, large knurled knob accomplishes fine focusing with a tight action.  To stabilize the telescope on its massive tripod with Queen Anne cabriole legs, an adjustable strut is provided.  It allows for proper train and elevation with a smooth action and a positive thumbscrew stop.  The tripod base measures 15 ½ inches wide from leg to leg.  For perfect leveling a built-in plumb bob is screwed into the bottom center of the tripod pedestal.  The telescope is attached to the heavy tapered vertical mount by two large knurled brass thumbscrews.  But it is not necessary to remove the telescope from the tripod, as the entire assembly is designed to fit into the box!  The box too is a thing of beauty, being constructed of solid teak with hand-cut dove-tail joints, brass hinges, hook and eye closures and the original skeleton key lock.  All components fit neatly within their designated receptacles.  It is in outstanding original condition with no significant cracks, chips scratches or losses.  It measures 45 ½ inches long, 11 inches wide and 7 inches thick.  As pictured, this telescope stands approximately 36 inches high and would fill a space about 45 inches long by 15 inches wide.  The total weight is 43 pounds.   Original surfaces, unmodified and in the same condition, except for its age, that it was when sold over 160 years ago! Price Request Special Packaging

Provenance:   Interestingly, this telescope appears to have been a war prize taken at the end of World War II.  An accompanying type written letter dated 13 November 1945 states this “English made telescope” was obtained by Gunners Mate 3rd Class R. J. Clackett in “Yokosuka, Japan as a souvenir.”  It was subsequently sold on 15 November 1945 in San Diego, California for the sum of One hundred fifty Dollars.  The original letter will be provided to the purchaser.

The firm of Negretti & Zambra was founded by its namesakes Enrico Negretti and Joseph Warren Zambra as makers of scientific instruments in London beginning in 1850.  They exhibited at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, London in 1851, winning a Prize Medal and earning the coveted appointment as instrument makers to the Queen and Prince Consort.  They were the most prolific and leading makers of all types of barometers and scientific instruments in the second half of the nineteenth century.  (Edwin Banfield, “Barometer Makers and Retailers 1660-1900,” 1991, Baros Books, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England.

reverse
detail

signature
in box

Order Info

 


 

21.90

 

21.90  U.S. NAVY TELESCOPE.   Incredible WWII vintage ship's shore party tripod telescope bearing the brass maker's tag reading:

U.S. NAVY
BUREAU OF SHIPS
1944
JOHN E. HAND & SONS CO.
PHILADELPHIA

This all brass telescope, with state-of-the-art optics, is 6 inches in diameter and measures 26 inches long overall, inclusive of its built-in sun shade. It is fitted with a 14 power eyepiece which provides an exceptionally clear highly magnified image with a wide field of view.  Still fully functional is the internal 3-way filter system useful in viewing through haze and glare.  For stability, the 'turret top' of the tripod is made from a massive piece of solid cast brass bearing the raised inscription "U.S NAVY TRIPOD Model 660 New York."   The equally substantial solid brass yoke allows the telescope to pivot from side to side and up and down (train and elevation) with a smooth, tight action.  The legs of this telescope are of heavy solid mahogany, beautifully tapered with cast brass tips.  The entire presentation stands 66 inches tall as shown and 49 inches to the top of the tripod turret head.   The telescope barrel itself is 22 ½ inches long.  The yoke also provides a 2-position height of eye adjustment feature!   This is done by means of a spacer which adds 5 inches of height.  Another nice feature of this telescope is that it affords the same magnification, with a wider field of view, as most conventional telescopes which are much longer.   This is accomplished by a complex system of prisms within the barrel. The shorter barrel also lends itself to display and use in limited space.  Absolutely superb condition cosmetically and optically.  This is the best functional tripod telescope available anywhere on today's antique market, and THE most desirable! SOLD

When looking through this telescope in our shop, the common response from our customers is WOW!

21.90
21.90
21.90
REVERSE
OBSERVERS
VIEW
OBJECTIVE

21.90
21.90
TRIPOD
MAKER

 

Description: 21.76

21.76 EARLY SEA CAPTAIN’s LONG GLASS. Especially nice hand-held telescope made by the famous optician and mathematical instrument maker Thomas Harris, as beautifully engraved in script near the eyepiece, “T. Harris, London Night & Day.” This fine, olde English example has an early form single draw with wooden barrel and brass fittings. The ocular end “nipple” is indicative of telescopes circa 1800, retaining its spring-loaded sliding dust cover. The large wooden barrel is turned of a singlepiece of solid mahogany which is in its original black finish. The objective end houses the old greenish glass achromatic lens which is protected by its press-fit cap with built-in sliding dust cover! The all original optics produce a highly magnified, upright image of surprising clarity. This genuine Captain’s spyglass measures 20 ¾ inches closed, 35 ¼ inches long fully extended and is 2 ½ inches in diameter. It is in a very nice state of original preservation. There are the expected age checks in the solid wooden barrel. Such cracks are present in all wooden articles over 200 years old. But this venerable example evidences great respect and careful use lavished upon it for over 2 centuries! 995

According to Gloria Clifton, author of “British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851”, 1995 Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd., London, Thomas Harris (I) worked as an optician, mathematical and philosophical instrument maker and a globe maker from 1790 to 1826. In 1804 he was recorded as working at 140 Fleet Street, London. Thereafter, an address of 52 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London is cited.


Description: 21.76CLOSED
Description: 21.76COVER
Description: 21.76WITHCOVER
Description: 21.76SIGNATURE
CLOSED
COVER
WITH COVER
SIGNATURE

Ordr Info

Back to Top