What is rare, is finding an antique telescope that is not broken. These optical marvels are highly complex machines with critically placed lenses , light baffles and machine tolerances that can and do go out of spec easily. Stiff draw tubes cause difficulty in focussing and often end up bringing disaster to the user as the fine threads are pulled out of the mating parts while trying to set the focus. Lenses are dismantled and replace with out regard to focal length and no notice is given to the correct curvature flip, resulting in poor performance. Even high end dealers have great difficulty in repairing, simply because the expertise and knowledge is not available. Wooden barrels create another problem. All telescopes are equipped with light baffles to improve the image quality. Made of metal, the wood barrel shrinks around the baffle, cracking the tube, end to end, and creates the appearance of a boa constrictor after swallowing the prey. Lenses are often missing and broken which are expensive to replace and difficult to grind. Store bought replacements are generally not available any more than a barrel of sperm whale oil is.
Van Cort Instruments worked for many years building new and repairing old telescopes and other science instruments. I founded this company in 1979 in Holyoke Ma. With 125 people, we built telescopes, kaleidoscopes and odd and curious devises of brass, wood, ivory, silver and all sorts of optical components. Our customers included hundreds of museum stores, the Smithsonian in D.C., Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello, Mount Vernon and retail stores world wide.
Today our focus is on repairing and selling vintage instrument and specifically telescopes of past ages. We welcome all inquires regarding your damaged instruments.