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Antique Binoscopes

Started by Milt, 11/26/2003 07:20PM
Posted 11/26/2003 07:20PM Opening Post
I observe with both eyes, so When I entered the Nautical Instrument Museum in the Historic Mystic (CT) Seaport, I almost fell over at the sight of a huge and magnificent old brass binoscope. Of course I had to have the history, which the docent eventually found after much rummaging around.

William Cary Edgecomb lived in Mystic from 1845 to 1906. He had an observatory at 64 Edgecomb St., taught astronomy and advertised and sold binocular telescopes. Only five are known to have survived. In a 13 page catalog dated August 1895 and titled 'Binocular Telescopes' is found:

A 2-3/8" binoscope with 34" focal length (f/14.3) with eyepiece(s) for 35x-50x, rack & pinion focus and oak or mahogany tripod, for $175.00, and a 3" version for $325.00.

A 5" binoscope approximately 6' long with eyepiece(s) for 60x-80x, for $850.00. It was this model on display, but sadly missing both prisms and one objective. I took a picture, which I will attach.

And finally the dreamscope, a 6-1/4" with Alvin Clark optics, 94" focal length (f/15) and a certification that the f.l. of the two sides would not differ by an amount exceeding 1/100", for $2,500! This was an immense sum in 1895, and it's not clear that any were ever built.

I guess two-eyed observing is not a recent phenomenon.

Clear skies, Milt

Attached Image:

Milt's attachment for post 11079