Vintage brass telescopes in New Zealand

Forums Telescopes Vintage brass telescopes in New Zealand

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    Hi All,

    I’m passing on an email I received from David Van Voorst in New Zealand.

    I am a teacher at Rangiora High School in New Zealand. A couple of years ago the Head of the Science Faculty uncovered two old brass telescopes. The school records (asset register) show no record of these telescopes so we have no details at all about their age, the type of refractors they are, etc.

    Last week I brought one of the scopes to the Canterbury Astronomical Society to ascertain if one of the members could shine some a light on their age etc. It was suggested I contact the Historical Section of the British Astronomical Association.

    I wonder if someone could help by digging up the details and facts on these scopes, identifying when the telescopes were built, where and the type of refractor? The school would also like an estimated value as this may determine whether one or both scopes be restored.

    One is a Dollond (London) three inch brass refractor. It is in its original wooden box with three eyepieces. Two of these look to have sun caps. It has no tripod. Most of the brass lacquer is intact. There is a number (8300, although the 8 kind of looks like an 8) at the eyepiece end of the scope which I have photographed.

    The other is a Watson and Son ‘Century’ scope (London, but it also has a Melbourne address) three and a half inch refractor. It also is in its original box with two eyepieces and has a wooden tripod about 2 metres tall. Virtually all of its (brass?) lacquer has disappeared. This scope also has a number (2142) at the eyepiece end of the scope which I have photographed.

    Each telescopes’ optics are as new. I have attached photos of the two telescopes. 

    My school would very much appreciate if the details on these two scopes could be found.

    Thank you

    Yours sincerely

    David Van Voorst
    Mathematics Department
    Rangiora High School

    Richard McKim reminds me that 3-inch Dollond refractors were advertised in early editions of the Journal in the 1890s.

    Does anyone (particularly our antipodean members) know anything about the provenance of these telescopes?

    Mike Frost


    Denis Buczynski

    Send the query to the Antique Telescope Society at this link:

    Antique Telescope Society
    Walter H. Breyer, Secretary
    1878 Robinson Road
    Dahlonega, GA 30533

    or to:
    Bart Fried

    Eric Watkins

    Whilst I have no input to assist with this request I would be interested in the outcome which hopefully could be posted here and maybe even followed up by a suitable letter of paper in the journal.  Such items sometimes have remarkable histories attached to them.




    Please could you mail me some more detailed pictures of these scopes. I have a collection of old catalogues which should aid identification of the age etc… Email to:

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