Do No Harm

Do No Harm

Early telescopes are very susceptible to damage when under repair by the inexperienced “Antiquer”. Considerable thought should go into what the issues are in repairing, and an outline in how you are going to proceed should be written out.

A “simple” task like removing an 18th barrel from the swivel mount presents a number of challenges. The swivel mount bolt is tapered and is secured by a nut with a variety of configurations. The nut often has been slotted to allow a special wrench to remove it. Many mechanics reach for  water pump pliers and a rag, in the hopes of loosening the fastener without damaging it. Don’t even think about it. The parts are soft metal, brass or silver with delicate walls and radial configurations. The first task is to draw  a blue print of the wrench design, then turn and mill the tool from aluminum and steel. It can take several hours to produce the finished product, and as little as 15 seconds to use it. You cannot buy these tools, all of them are custom made and each telescope is different.

As a restorer, my responsibility is to not damage that telescope, and treat it as if I was the original maker.

This refractor telescope was built by Adams circa 1770, extending 58” at full draw and complete with a one piece tapered mahogany barrel. It is designed for use at a desk and stands 24” high. The telescope can be seen at lannangallery.com in Norwell, MA.

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