SPENCER BROWNING RUST MARINE TELESCOPE Ca 1840


Early 19th century telescopes are
becoming increasingly difficult to find in good original condition, particularly bearing the name of any important maker.
 

 
 

 
Presented is an exception. It is a fine 4 draw marine
telescope from one of the exceptional makers of the 19th century, Spencer Browning & Rust who specialized in early navigation
instruments such as octants and sextants in large numbers. But of their telescopes, there are relatively few known by
Spencer Browning & Rust to be found. The British National Museum at Greenwich has only two examples. Telescopes by
this maker were of the highest standard for the period, and this is no exception. In full working order, the objective
lens dust cover and ocular lens slide cover are both present.

DIMENSIONS: It measures 12″ closed and
a long 42 3/8” extended. Each draw is 7 3/4” long. The objective lens is 48mm diameter. Weighs a heavy 2 lbs 8 1/2 oz

 
MARKINGS: This particular one has “Spencer Browning &
Rust, London,
Improved” engraved in copperplate script on three lines of the first draw. On the side opposite,
is the engraved name of what may be the first owner “A. de V. Clarke”.



Spencer Browning Rust worked in London from
1724 to 1840 when the name was changed to Spencer Browning & Co. after the death of Ebenezer Rust.  The
successor, Spencer Browning had offices at a number of addresses on Wapping High
Street, London and were in business until 1870. They had an early dividing
machine and inscribed arcs for others.
Ref: Gloria Clifton, Directory
of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851
(London, 1995), p. 261.

This one likely
dates to around 1840, just before a company name change. Considering its age and service, it  It has survived in
very good condition. None of the tubes have dents and the optics are scratch free and clear of fungus. There is some
normal scuffing on the tubes from going in and out. For details read the Statement of Condition.

CONDITION: Made for marine use, it has a mahogany
barrel with four brass draw tubes, and its original green tint objective lens which is 48mm in
diameter. This lens was to reduce glare at sea. All lenses are free from chips, and fungus. It is hard to judge the sharpness
because the scope is so heavy it requires someone quite strong to focus. The image seems quite sharp, but moves around due
to the power and weight. The first thread on the first draws ocular end cap is broken, but the cap screws in place. Some of
the brass plating on the main barrel has worn away.
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Overall, it is a fine example of a genuine antique telescope from a pedigreed maker
which should continue to increase in value.