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Mahogany and brass single draw telescope

Date: c 1750
Overall: 620 x 55 mm, 634 g
Medium: Brass, timber, glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Telescope
Object No: 00050191

User Terms

    With its multi-faceted mahogany tube and bulbous lens, this single draw telescope is a relatively unusual example of a mid-18th century telescope. It is representative of instrument-maker skills in an era when the components of telescopes were produced largely by hand and in small numbers, and illustrates part of an evolution in telescope manufacture.
    SignificanceThis fine mahogany and brass single draw telescope demonstrates the skill of instrument makers in the mid-18th century when telescopes were widely used at sea.

    HistoryFrom the Greek 'tele' meaning far and 'skopein' meaning to look or see, a telescope is an instrument designed for the observation of remote objects. The telescope is believed to have first appeared in the Netherlands and a patent application for an instrument for "seeing faraway things as though nearby" was filed in the Hague in 1608. Galileo Galilei made his own telescope in 1609, calling it at first a "perspicillum," and then using the terms "telescopium" in Latin and "telescopio" in Italian (from which the English word derives). Galileo is generally credited with being the first to use a telescope for astronomical purposes.

    Mariners were quick to see the practical potential of telescopes and portable marine telescopes evolved throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. By the early 19th century the basic design of the telescope had become relatively standardized and the telescope had become a basic instrument aboard ships. Following improvements in binocular design in the late 19th century, binoculars were increasingly used at sea and telescopes became less popular aboard ships in the 20th century.

    Additional Titles

    Exhibition object title: Telescope

    (not entered): Mahogany and brass single draw telescope

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