Category: Uncategorized

George Washington and the Brass Box

By cocking the trigger on the top of the instrument the eight circular blades are rotated back into the base under intense spring force. When you push the round knurled release button the blades snap through the slotted ways and lacerate the wrist with a vengeance.   The device came to me in great disrepair, well corroded, with the steel hight knob adjuster broken … Read More George Washington and the Brass Box

A Telescope by Henry Pyefinch

This miniature telescope was made by Henry Pyefinch in his workshop in London circa 1760’s. The barrel is wrapped with dyed fish skin, horn dyed turnings and vellum draw tubes. Peter Dollond successfully sued Henry for infringing on his patented lens design as he did with any one who copied his telescope inventions. He was able to keep his competitors at bay for years … Read More A Telescope by Henry Pyefinch

Rack Repair on a 1780 Ramsden

Having the telescope focus is rather a critical part of being able to use it. Depending on the scope, they have many different ways of moving the focus tube back and forth. They tend to break fairly easily,  as the inexperienced operator tends to yank the eye-tube out of the barrel , often damaging the spur gear, rack or both. These 18th century rack … Read More Rack Repair on a 1780 Ramsden

Not all Instruments Measure

This old horn arrived in my shop to have some dent”al” repair. While I mostly work on telescopes, a challenge is always in order. Caution must be-used as you can easily  cause more damage than you had before. Technics are the same for removal, turned lathe slugs of brass and aluminum which are forced fit into the openings, ball bearings of all sizes that … Read More Not all Instruments Measure

Brianna and the Orrery

Here we see Brianna in the library of Smith College, with an Orrery she helped me to build. This is a reproduction  that I first made for the Smithsonian back in 1983. I still make a few of them from time to time. The brass housing has enough gears to drive three clocks while the sun is 5″ in diameter. Very Beautiful to look … Read More Brianna and the Orrery

A Giant Zoetrope

This motion picture device was first made public in 1834.

Instruments of Pleasure

A measuring device is what an instrument is, and these cars are filled with all kinds of devices for read-out information. Lights , dials, sounds of all kinds, and a liquid computer to keep it all straight. I owned a number of them back in the days when they were referred to as “foreign” cars. They weren’t easily repaired as few mechanics knew what … Read More Instruments of Pleasure


A Garden Armillary by Van Cort

Rising from a conical iron base, this garden Armillary features a solid brass engraved chapter ring with a compass rose motif, a 9″ solid brass pillar mount on top of which is a 27″ celestial universe cage complete with a 5″ copper sun. All the fittings are milled and lathe turned in my workshop and polished to a gleaming dimension. The Armillary stands 66″ … Read More A Garden Armillary by Van Cort


A Fishskin Covered Telescope-18th C.

These early 18th century telescopes were constructed of cardboard, brass and finished with fishskin for extrodianary durability. Measuring over six feet long, it was fitted with a five element optical system including a single lens objective. The lenses were difficult to grind on a large scale, but the long focal lengths gave powerful images.  Pretty to look at, if you don’t get distracted.


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. A “simple” task like removing an 18th barrel from the swivel mount presents a number of challenges. […]

Repairing a Pair of Big Eyes

This giant pair of binoculars from Lannan Ship Model Gallery was brought in to be fitted with a tripod and the optics realigned. This type of optical instrument became popular during World War II, and many different versions were produced. This is a D.F. 10 x 80 aluminum construction with coated optics. If you are interested in purchasing this fine pair of Giant binoculars, … Read More Repairing a Pair of Big Eyes

Mystic WoodenBoat Show

Mystic Seaport, June 30–July 2, 2017 Show Hours: 9:00am–5:00pm