Antique Scopes

When i picked up a 3″ Samuel and Benjamin Solomons refractor for £100, I decided to remove the blue and black paint and refurbish the tripod and mount. Well why not! Now the clean and tidy-up is almost complete, here are some pics of what was under the paint!

Solomons refractor telescope – the re-assembled scope.
Solomons refractor telescope – the re-assembled scope.
View of the mount including the now-functioning azimuth control
Solomons refractor telescope – the re-assembled scope. It has led a hard life!
S&B Solomons Refractor – mounting refurb
S&B Solomons Refractor – azimuth gear sees the light.
S&B Solomons Refractor – hot water loosening paint.
S&B Solomons Refractor – nameplate, now minus most of paint.
S&B Solomons Refractor – parts list!
S&B Solomons Refractor – worm gear
S&B Solomons Refractor – mounting back in one piece

Note to self: keep track of exact location of myriad screws during disassembly. Different threads and sizes abound!

2.5″ Cooke refractor

This scope dates from the 1860s, and was made by the famous English telescope maker Thomas Cooke and Sons. It’s a beautiful thing!

T. Cooke and Sons refractor telescope
The contents of the wooden case, including 2 astronomical eyepieces, one terrestrial eyepiece, and adapter tube, 2 rods to control the mount, the dew shield and the main tube assembly.
2.5
Close-up of the finderscope. It has a push-pull focusing mechanism.
2.5" T. Cooke and Sons refractor telescope
Dew-shield. Note the reducing or “stop” ring. The resulting aperture does not impinge on the objective lens itself.
2.5" T. Cooke and Sons refractor telescope
Sun glass. Very dark – apparently opaque black glass push-fit filter which slides onto the eyepiece. As bad an idea in the 19th Century as they are today. DO NOT USE SUN FILTERS like this.
2.5
This eyepiece has the curious text “Istronomical Eye Piece” written on its barrel.
2.5
The thread on the eyepiece is RAS
2.5
Focuser knob (left) and attachment for altitude rod (right)
T. Cooke and Sons refractor telescope
Maker’s signature.
2.5" T. Cooke and Sons refractor telescope
The Cooke’s objective lens.
2.5
The dew-shield slides over the lens cell, with a slit in the barrel allowing for a secure fit.
2.5
Focuser draw tube and finderscope eyepiece, the focus of which is adjusted with a push pull action. There are no crosshairs.
2.5
The astronomical (or is it istronomical?) eyepiece. It screws into an adapter tube which itself slides into the drawtube. Expect minimal eye relief!
2.5
Eyepieces and adapters fit neatly into felt-lined fittings in the case.
2.5
Finder-scope objective lens
2.5
The two control rods, one used to rotate the mount in azimuth, and the other to brace it in elevation. Both held securely in the case.
2.5
The sturdy brass alt-azimuth mount of the Cooke telescope.
2.5
The mount’s worm gear, engraved in Roman numerals. The control rod attaches to the shaft of the gear, lower right. The knob allows to engage or disengage the worm, like a clutch on a modern equatorial.
2.5" T. Cooke and Sons refractor telescope
The hardwood case includes three brass hinges and a four lever lock. Well used but still protecting its contents.

3″ Clarkson refractor, pre-Broadhurst!

It’s a terrestrial scope  with no finder and one of those 20cm long rectifying eyepieces to turn the image right way up. Almost mint and an auction bargain at £60. The name  ages it to the 1890s, give or take. ‘Tis a lovely thing! I just need a suitable mount.

Clarkson refractor focusing rack
Clarkson refractor baffle and slot for focuser rack. Not the tidiest job.
Clarkson refractor focuser knob removed for greasing
Clarkson refractor nameplate
76mm objective lens
The objective lens cell is held in the tube by friction – no threads
Clarkson telescope meets Vixen equatorial!
Clarkson telescope meets Vixen equatorial! I managed to attach the OTA to a dovetail bar having drilled out the holes to match those protruding from the scope. It’s a solid fit, which is a good job as the tube weighs over 3 kg.
iPhone shot through the eyepiece – albeit a “modern” Halloween plossl.
Clarkson refractor showing sliding draw tube
Clarkson refractor showing sliding draw tube
Clarkson refractor telescope
Clarkson refractor telescope at sunset.

BC Library Telescope

A different 3″ Broadhurst Clarkson library telescope, this time on a pillar and claw stand. Around 1920. Black crackle paint finish.

3-inch Broadhurst Clarkson library telescope
3-inch Broadhurst Clarkson library telescope
Early 20th Century Broadhurst Clarkson library telescope objective lens
3-inch Broadhurst Clarkson library telescope objective lens
RAS eyepiece. A Huygenian design. Screw thread. Eye relief almost nil!
The eyepiece may not be a great performer but it looks fantastic. Unless you are a cat.
Snapshot from a video taken through the 3″ Broadhurst. Good optics.
Pillar and Claw. Heavy.