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1890s brass telescope/instrument For Sale

Price - $1,150.00

Ad Number: 128520

Posted: 09 Feb 2018

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When removed from Ys with two hinged rings the OTA can be hand held as a spotter telescope. It is very nice on the moon and shows Jupiter's 4 brighter moons. Please keep it back in the mount when not used this way. Objective lens is 34mm uncoated achromat. Compound erect image eyepiece approx. 28X. Near focus is 15 feet. Must use leveling screws for vertical adjustment.

This is a professionally restored Y level. Made by Brandis Sons and Co., Brooklyn, NY. This precision engineering level is over 115 years old. This instrument is 100% bronzes that are beautifully refinished and lacquered or waxed (dark patinaed parts). This instrument is complete down to a key for case lock, end cap and lens shade. Fully calibrated to current day standards. Bubble vial has 10 arc second ruling lines and runs true to 1/2 that for rotation. Motions are silky smooth. Instrument weighs 12 lbs. Case is 18"x10"x6". It is fully refinished (hand rubbed oil) red mahogany wood and is 7 1/2 lbs. New leather strap on case. Crosshairs are original black widow spider web with optional stadia (3 horizontal X hairs for 100:1 distance estimation). I have been in the surveying instrument repair business for over 40 years. I have over 60 hours into this restoration done over a 3 month period. Every last screw has been fine grained. NO buffing or wire wheel/Krylon job.

Comes with copied Brandis instruction manual/price list for this instrument. This is their model 8 SN 1760 which puts it at turn of the century, late 1800s to early 1900s. I found an original Brandis repair invoice from 1899 showing their shop hourly billed at 60 cents per hour. Repair servicing rates were at $40/hr when I was training in the mid 70s and I got $2.35/hr of that.

Optics are perfect and images are sharp. Top notch workmanship on a very nice piece. Definitely one of the nicer restorations I have done.

A bit of why Wye levels are cool: As can be imagined, it was very difficult to get a surveying instrument repaired/recalibrated pre 1900. The unique thing about the Y level design is that they are self checking in the field by virtue of removing the telescope and reversing it in the Ys. This coupled with 360 degree rotation of the telescope tube to true crosshairs and also 360 degree rotation of the horizontal axis with an adjustable bubble vial allowed for this. So now you know why WYE levels were popuar then. This makes an incredible desk piece or parlor spotting scope and will certainly hold value as it ages.

Sorry, I don't have an original wooden tripod for this instrument. But having the original case key is almost unheard of now. I can pack it well for shipping and buyer pays shipping and Paypal fee. Buyer will not be dissapointed!


  • Condition restored to perfection
  • Location AGUILA, AZ

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