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1880's Harbourmaster's telescope

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#1 Duncan Rosie

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 03:32 PM

I've come across a harbourmaster's brass refractor, reportedly from the 1880's. It does not have any identifying plaques or logos.
It is ± 4", ± f/10 or so, brass tube and dewshield, brass and wood alt-az mount/tripod, several eyepieces in individual focusing tubes. I'll post some pics once it is assembled.
How can I find out who made it and when?

#2 torana68

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:39 AM

there is a very good chance it was made in India quite recently (if so dont touch it) a Photo would tell more, Im just guessing based on the large number of fakes on ebay.

#3 Astrojensen

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 04:13 AM

Post a picture or a link to one. Harbourmaster is the name of a well known series of faked antique telescopes from India, but there appears to have been scopes from well respected makers in the past to bear the same name. It's impossible for us to tell without a picture.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#4 mattyfatz

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 05:19 PM

THAR SHE BLOWS!

AAARGH! :john:

#5 mattyfatz

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 05:22 PM

But this Brass Betty would be worth the loot

#6 photiost

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:28 PM

Yes please post some images.

Here are some beauties

http://www.stanleylo...CFWUOOgodQS4A3A

:cool:

#7 Duncan Rosie

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 01:41 PM

By Harbourmaster, I mean it reportedly belonged to a harbour Master!
It is genuinely old, real patina on brass, real fungus on glass (as far as I can tell but in Durban's humidity who knows?). I'll sort some pics and clarify it's history. Hopefully not a fake.
Scope belongs to a friend, I won't be buying it :-)

#8 Duncan Rosie

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 04:14 PM

Here's a pic for now, I'll try get some decent images over the weekend.

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#9 roscoe

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 08:03 AM

I could well be wrong, but it seems to me that the brass on the tripod looks close-to new.....and the legs don't look 130-years beat up. here's a clue....are any of the screws phillips-head? If so, it's new. There is an active industry in India making repro optical instruments that are darn near (but not quite..) actual nice scopes.....

#10 tim53

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 10:19 AM

That looks "genuine." Most of the repros have helical focusers that look like plumbing fixtures. The lens cap appears stamped brass, rather than heavy machined brass with a ridiculous chain to hang it from the end of the tube.

The tripod also looks vintage, though someone polished the brass at some point (or it was hardly used).

-Tim.

#11 torana68

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 02:37 AM

looks too "new" condition wise to me not a chip or mark on the wood, all the metal bits look too bright, perhaps restored?

#12 Duncan Rosie

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 06:12 AM

Ok, here are some pictures. First the objective lens - 93mm clear aperture, looks like a single piece but not sure.

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#13 Duncan Rosie

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 06:14 AM

Eyepiece collection, one appears to be a brass eyegaurd, one may be part of a finderscope. A couple are barlowed.

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#14 Duncan Rosie

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 06:16 AM

Focus drawtube, the knob appears to be a lockscrew, there is no focussing mechanism as such.

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#15 Duncan Rosie

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 06:29 AM

Lens cell, nicely implemented collimating setup, but looks like it was not recently collimated.
The alt-az mount is solid brass and beautifully damped. The tripod and mount look to be partially restored with the brass polished up.

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#16 roscoe

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 07:56 AM

You've convinced me, it's indeed an old scope! Is that a crack in the objective, or just a reflection? It's a truly nice treasure, whether restored for use, or just displayed!
R

#17 Duncan Rosie

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 03:08 PM

It's a crack about halfway across the objective. The intention is to clean it up and see what it will do.

#18 Mr Magoo

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 05:11 PM

No way a repop is going to have a collimatable cell. The collection of ep's is telling too. Got to be the real deal.

#19 tim53

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 06:29 PM

That's a focus knob. These old scopes have an internal rack and pinion with the rack mounted sideways on the inside of the tube, so the pinion gear on the inside from the focus knob bears against it.

That cracked objective is a crying shame, but I wouldn't mess with it. It would be a doublet.

-Tim.

#20 torana68

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 04:18 AM

looks better in close up :)

#21 Kunama

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 04:39 AM

I think you have the real deal there, at least the OTA looks to be genuine.

That lens cell is almost exactly the same as my 3.25" F15 c1865 Berry&Mackay, the lens should be a contact doublet held in place by a blackened brass retainer with knurling the same as the front rim.
there should be some screw holes on the right side near the drawtube that were for attachment of an altitude adjuster.

These scopes were some of the first examples of "badge engineering" in scopes. The back plate was usually customised for the retailer.

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#22 Kunama

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 04:49 AM

Ok, here are some pictures. First the objective lens - 93mm clear aperture, looks like a single piece but not sure.


On the back of this cell will be a blackened knurled retainer which will unscrew (use rubber gloves for grip with your palms flat as if you're praying and then twist - this avoid deforming the very thin brass). The lens elements are held in place only by this ring, try to avoid rotating the glass

Here is a pic of the focuser on my Berry & Mackay. These scopes were made under several names.

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#23 Duncan Rosie

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 12:54 AM

Thanks for the info Matt - any idea who the OEM might have been?
I'll see if I can strip the focuser this weekend and get it working.






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