Here at the London Fine Antiques you will find a generous selection of antique telescopes, which is testament to their lasting fascination with collectors and inherent usability, even today. A clear, bright magnified image that allows you to survey the landscape or ocean in front of you holds lasting appeal for many reasons. Not only are these instruments dependable, they are visually appealing objects and from the variety of materials used for their primary tubes and brightwork, there is a good deal of choice.
The refractor telescope that typifies the golden era of antique optical instruments found its beginnings in the works of three Dutch gentlemen; Hans Lippershey and Zacharias Janssen, opticians from Middelburg and another by the name of Jacob Metius, of Alkmaar. Word spread across lower Europe in the early 1600s to Galileo Galilei, who created his own version of the refractor. By principle, the refracting telescope uses the same elements across the board. An objective lens and eyepiece is used to collect more light than the eye can see on its own, which is then magnified and focused within the draw tube to present a telescopic image to the viewer.
Invaluable to seafarers and navigators on the land, many business began to specialise in telescopes, with London becoming the epicentre of British manufacture. Names of lasting regard such as Ramsden, Dollond, Berge, Broadhurst Clarkson and Negretti and Zambra crafted beautiful instruments that still generate a market to this day. We hold examples of various sizes, finishes and style and can be found in our showroom at The Antique Village across two separate cabinets. Stop by and view these wonderful period pieces for yourself.