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3-inch Dolland refractor with 44 inch focal length - edit

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#1 JEntwisle

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 03:02 PM

Hi all

 

I've been going through my grandfather's old telescopes and have come across a 44 inch refractor made of brass and wood (... mahogany?). It has three lenses, with the primary being approximately 3 inches. It's inscribed Dollond London at the eyepiece.

 

I'm quite curious about the provenance. My dad was under the impression it was late 19th century but some googling indicates it might be earlier, possibly early 19th century. Has anyone encountered such a telescope before?

 

Many thanks

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Edited by JEntwisle, 28 July 2020 - 03:53 PM.

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#2 PETER DREW

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 03:26 PM

With regard to the Dollond telescope I have a very similar one on an identical looking mount but inscribed "Davis of Cheltenham"

I would think that your version is likely to be early 19h century.  Many optics suppliers of the period used third party mechanical component which accounts for the similarities.  The mount is known as a "pillar and claw" mount for obvious reasons. 


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#3 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 03:28 PM

You may want to change your title to say "3-inch Dolland Refractor with a focal length of 44-inches". The way you have it worded is extremely confusing because everyone will think that you have a refractor with a lens 44" "in diameter". Big difference between diameter and focal length!

 

Clear skies!

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#4 JEntwisle

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 03:54 PM

Good shout RalphMeisterTigerMan



#5 Terra Nova

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 09:10 AM

That is quite a beautiful vintage Dolland that you have there! I would concur that it dates from the early 1800s if not even a bit earlier. Dollands were amongst the first achromats.



#6 JEntwisle

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Posted 30 July 2020 - 04:29 AM

Hi all

Thanks for all responses both on and off list. The general consensus seems to be early 19th century, which makes sense given similarities with other dollonds scattered over the internet. I've been told the telescope's origin case would likely have held more details, however, that has been lost to history.

I'm also delighted to say that's it's fully functional. I was able to get a good view of the rings of Saturn and three of Jupiter's moons the other night, although I was unable to locate neowise. Not bad for a 200-odd year old piece of kit!
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#7 highfnum

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Posted 30 July 2020 - 05:24 AM

yea early 1800's

here is my 2 inch F15 1800

also dollond spelling error in title

there were "dolland" knock off made also

 

dollond2inchf15.jpg

 

 

 



#8 Ken Launie

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Posted 30 July 2020 - 09:15 PM

Hi all

Thanks for all responses both on and off list. The general consensus seems to be early 19th century, which makes sense given similarities with other dollonds scattered over the internet. I've been told the telescope's origin case would likely have held more details, however, that has been lost to history.

I'm also delighted to say that's it's fully functional. I was able to get a good view of the rings of Saturn and three of Jupiter's moons the other night, although I was unable to locate neowise. Not bad for a 200-odd year old piece of kit!

The Dollond firm made a number of fine telescopes over the years, hence the mis-spelled knock-offs. I suspect yours dates from around the first quarter of the 19th century + or minus 30 years. Otherwise identical ones are found with wooden or brass tubes. My 3-inch is undated externally, but I found an owner's name and date of January 27, 1832 inscribed on the reverse of the tailpiece during partial disassembly to repair the focuser. I have the case and accessories but no further info could be gleaned from that. It has a pillar and claw mount with a yoke holding the tube that can be set up as an altazimuth for daytime use, or a cool equatorial attachment can be inserted between the pillar and the yoke for astronomy (as is shown in the photo).

--Ken

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#9 JEntwisle

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Posted 31 July 2020 - 10:48 AM

That is a very nifty looking mount, I bet it doesn't even rotate in a slight breeze! Slightly less tarnished than my own too.

#10 Ken Launie

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Posted 31 July 2020 - 01:03 PM

That is a very nifty looking mount, I bet it doesn't even rotate in a slight breeze! Slightly less tarnished than my own too.

It IS a pretty solid mount for the period. Believe it or not, I actually would be happier with it if it was in the condition yours appears to be in, as I happen to prefer telescopes that have their original finishes. Mine was stripped by a previous owner and overzealously polished down to bare metal. Eventually I'll relacquer it to tone it down. The case was refinished inside and out, so any label or trace of one is long gone. 




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