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Opinions.... Antique Brass Refractor Polish or Leave Patina

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#1 unitron_man



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Posted 28 July 2019 - 05:30 AM



I've acquired this antique Meyrowitz  2-1/8" refractor.


Polish it, or leave the patina?








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#2 Bob Myler

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:07 AM

Aggressive polishing erases history, blurs lettering - may even reduce your sperm count....lol.gif

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#3 starman876


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Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:56 AM

I would say leave it alone.  However, they really look beautiful when polished.  Your scope your choice.

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#4 Stevegeo


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Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:57 AM

On the other hand, carefull cleaning and polishing will bring out it's beauty,  AND preserve the patina.


Don't go nuts, take your time, ..

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#5 Ben Bajorek

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:59 AM

That’s a rare bird, a 57mm Bardou, branded by Meyrowitz. Would love to see some more pictures. Which Meyrowitz sold the scope, Emil or Paul? My preference is to not polish out the brass unless I’ve had to hammer out major dents in the metal, which ruins the existing patina. I don’t think these telescope were originally finished to a high polish, more of a fine brush finish. I’d keep your Bardou as it is.

#6 Cobalt*Blue


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Posted 28 July 2019 - 08:00 AM

I will vote patina. It would be enjoyable to polish and see it transformed and I would be having a hard time resisting. Envision it all shine and new looking and think about how long it will take to revert to it's current state. If you truly don't think the patina looks good a than go for it. Chris
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#7 Astroman007


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Posted 28 July 2019 - 08:04 AM

I'd leave it if the optics are good.


Why make a classic look new?

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#8 Defenderslideguitar



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Posted 28 July 2019 - 08:06 AM


you have come to the right place


close call  in my view     I like patina that comes with  age and I love history

but that one has quite a bit of tarnish


 starman876 is right    your choice

I would wait     leave it as it is for now     ... could be a good winter project anyway. If that is  a more than obvious dent  and you wish to deal with that dent     perhaps that controls your ultimate decision

Meanwhile   I would do searches and read up on other threads  see other pics  learn what others have done

and look through it  enjoy it



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Posted 28 July 2019 - 08:42 AM

AND , how long did it take that brass to achieve that beautiful Patina ?  Remember !...... They Are Only Original Once . You  can polish EVERYDAY .  The OP asked for " OPINIONS " and mine is ......It would be a shame to ERASE that lovely Patina forever .  BUT....... To each , their own .  smirk.gif 

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#10 davidmcgo



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Posted 28 July 2019 - 09:10 AM

I am of the opinion that the maker didn’t intend it to look like it does now.  I might try gentle cleaning and polishing, as long as there aren’t fine engravings that would be lost.



#11 ccwemyss



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Posted 28 July 2019 - 01:52 PM

When the patina is nice and even, I feel it's a finish worth keeping. If it's blotchy, has areas where it has rubbed off, there is actually corrosion that needs to be stopped, or bad dents that need fixing, then cleaning or polishing will bring it back to a place where it can start to recover toward an even patina. 


I'd suggest focusing on restoring the wood, which may be needed to help preserve it. Unlike the brass, the wood can dry out and split, or get wet and rot, when it has lost its original finish. 


Chip W. 

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#12 Kasmos



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Posted 28 July 2019 - 02:00 PM

I vote leave the patina. IMO, They have more personality and charm with it.


If you polish it up, you'll have to stay on it, or clear coat it, and constantly worry about handling it.

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#13 Bomber Bob

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 04:04 PM

I polished & powder-coated mine:


Mogey 3 - Prism Diagonal S12.jpg


But the patina wasn't anywhere near even, and it had a wide black line of tarnish / corrosion that ran all the way down one side.  I was concerned about the integrity / strength of the brass.  And, I was convinced it had been painted originally -- but I was wrong.


Took some patient shopping, but I found an antique prism diagonal, and acquired over a dozen eyepieces for it, plus the 1885 MacKenzie mount & tripod.  I don't take it outside often, but when I do, it's quite an experience.


Mogey 3 - Prism Diagonal T15.jpg

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#14 LarsJ


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Posted 28 July 2019 - 04:27 PM

If this were my scope, I would polish it only if I also restored the mount and the wood.  I would go either all original or all restored.

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#15 Ken Launie

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 05:06 PM

Looks pretty sweet to me. If it's too shiny then what distinguishes it from the tens of thousands of Indian imports sold for next to nothing on eBay and elsewhere? Every time it's touched visible fingerprints are left behind. Over time they corrode.


When someone tries to polish such an instrument they frequently discover that it's really hard to make it look uniformly bright on inside corners where cells meet the tube, without dark marks. Once the process starts they're committed. A frequent result is that they resort to mechanical buffing which rounds crisp corners and softens any engraving. Since it looks like it now has a uniform, even patina without lots of dents, it can just be cleaned up and waxed with a paste wax. Cleaning and oiling the tripod legs (or even restoring them more thoroughly) would also help the appearance.


It's a personal preference ultimately, but if you DO choose to strip the finish it'll look much better paying attention to the "grain" of the brass, keeping the finish marks linear along the tube and circumferentially on the cells, probably much as it was made originally. Few old instruments had a really uniform buffed finish. Think of what a lathe would do on the parts if you were to hold a very fine Scotchbright pad as it spins, and imagine wrapping the bare tube (fittings removed first) with a large enough pad to completely encircle it. Then move along the tube back and forth only, never around. It's harder to do well than most realize.



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#16 Ben Bajorek

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:40 PM

Here's a picture of a Bardou telescope with the original finish intact.   As you can see it's not really polished out.

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#17 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 06:40 AM

If it ain't broken. don't  fix it.

#18 mikerepp



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Posted 01 August 2019 - 09:49 AM

If there are dents even small ones and you polish it they will more than likely show more than with the patina.  If as others stated you need to repair dents corrosion etc then polishing it out would be the call I would make.  Especially corrosion it will only get worse.

#19 Bomber Bob

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 02:49 PM

Here's how my Mogey looked after unpacking:


Mogey - Unrestored P01s.jpg


Yours is pristine in comparison!  I'd clean it, check for corrosion & remove, but otherwise leave it alone.


As others have posted, once you start polishing, you can't stop...


(No matter what, they're great on display.  With the door open, I can look right, and see my Mogey 3 in the living room!  A bit further right, and my Sears 6336 on its pedestal.  And over my right shoulder, my 2 Hy-Score beauties.  If I can't observe with them, I can at least appreciate them.)

Edited by Bomber Bob, 01 August 2019 - 02:55 PM.

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#20 Chuck Hards

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 09:41 PM

Only old Navy men would feel a compulsion to polish brass.  I agree with others, leave it.  

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#21 clamchip


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Posted 01 August 2019 - 11:01 PM

I like surplus belts as seen in this picture.

Some are brass and I need to keep them polished, and then there are these blue belts

with what appears to be a nickle over brass, nice no maintenance, Air Force?

I bought what I hope is a lifetime supply of these excellent belts.

They are noisy, if for example you need to potty in the field you might catch a little lead.


(scope is a Brandt 6 inch)



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#22 Geo31


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Posted 02 August 2019 - 03:20 PM

Patina is currently in vogue.


What you do is up to you.


Personally, I could go either way.  If you bought a new brass scope, would you polish it periodically, or would you just clean it and let it age? 


I'd personally polish it periodically, so that's why I could go either way.  If you are concern about value, however, some collectors would blanch at a polished antique scope.


No right answer.

#23 clamchip


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Posted 02 August 2019 - 05:17 PM

Here's what new brass telescopes look like:


These are very well made and meant to last.

I owned one for a while, the Cape Cod All Brass.

The polished brass is clear coated to protect from tarnishing.




Edited by clamchip, 02 August 2019 - 07:46 PM.

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#24 rolo



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Posted 02 August 2019 - 08:45 PM

So its okay to restore and repaint a painted classic but not if its brass question.gif




#25 unitron_man



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Posted 06 August 2019 - 03:49 PM

Decided not to polish. 

  • Cleaned the tripod wood and re-oiled. 
  • Cleaned and relubricated the alt-az motions and focuser
  • Removed the lenses from the cell cleaned and added spacers
  • Replaced some rusted screws with brass.
  • Brought it to Stellafane!



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  • meyrowitz_stellafane_2019_s.jpg
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