OLD SHEFFIELD SILVER
THREE DRAW TELESCOPE English, c.1820 Unsigned
increasingly difficult to find in good original condition, and Sheffield Silver scopes are exceedingly rare.
fine condition with no further information known. The color of the leather vaires due to the lighting and is close to that
seen in the picture shown with the front dust cap.
construction throughout is of heavy silver over copper showing through resulting from use, and in which the seams can be seen
with the naked eye. This indicates the copper was sandwiched between a sheet of silver on the top and bottom and fused together.
This type of Sheffield plating was used from the late 1700’s until 1840 when it was superseded by electroplating, a less desirable
It measures 10″ closed and 29 3/4” extended. The objective lens is 38 mm diameter. Weighs
1 lb 8 3/4 oz
CONDITION is fine and functional throughout, noting the silver being worn in places to show the copper, giving a lovely
rich contrast to the instrument, and indicates this to be in its original, untouched condition. There are no dents or chips
to the lenses and everything is first rate on this finely made antique scope.
SHEFFIELD PLATE HISTORY: Sheffield plating was invented around 1740, where a sheet of silver is fused to a thicker
one of copper, and the laminate then rolled to even it out. In 1782 J.L. Martin, patterned a process of drawing silver-plated
copper telescope tubes directly by machine. This all became obsolete in the mid-19th century, with the advent of electroplating.
Like this example, much of the plate sliver made in Sheffield did not bear a maker’s mark. Since the
items were not sterling they did not need any silver marks. However, sometimes the pieces were stamped with maker’s initials,
but not here. If a piece is stamped with the words “Sheffield Plated” then it is not old Sheffield Plate, but rather later
PLATE by Anneke Bamberry, Shire Publications, Ltd, England, 2000, Copyright 1988 by author.
This is a fine example of a genuine antique telescope which was made prior to 1840 when electroplating of
silver was introduced in Sheffield, England.