A large Dixey marine telescope from 1820 approx

A large Dixey marine telescope from 1820 approx

Stock Number: 235


For sale is a large single draw, wooden barrelled telescope engraved as made by Dixey of London, in good condition, 35.5 inches long when fully open.


35.5 inches open, 20 inches closed: OD 2.25



Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Navigational instruments, Telescopes - Refracting


The Dixey family made scientific instruments from 1805 onwards, throughout the C19th. Founded by Edward Dixey, in Vine Street, Piccadilly, perhaps the most well-known maker was Charles Wastell Dixey, who joined his father Edward as an apprentice in 1812, when they operated from 335 Oxford Street. This telescope – now offered for sale –  is engraved as made by “Dixey, London” and labelled “Day or Night”. The style, and the engraving suggests this was built in the earlier part of the Century.

This example of their work is an antique wooden barrelled, single draw telescope, with a bell shaped eyepiece and a split draw to give a mounting point for the second lens cartridge. It is a large size, 20” closed, and 35.5” open, and the barrel is around 2.25” diameter. Both ends would originally have had lens covers: the objective cover is missing, and the eyepiece cover was a sliding gate type, but the metal gate is missing. The wood is in good condition, and is a hardwood, possibly oak, but with a reddish-brown colouring.

The telescope works well optically, and has a good magnification – it was probably used initially on board a sailing ship, but has obviously spent most of its life in a safer environment, as there are very few signs of handling damage. The brass single draw has polished up fairly well, but there are some areas of discolouration, which I have attempted to show on the photos – these may polish out in time. The brass end fittings on the barrel are securely held in place by what looks like the original screw fixings, but the heads of these screws have mostly been polished smooth. On the objective holder it appears that some are missing, but the fitting is still secure. The thread holding the fairly heavy draw in place on the barrel provides only a couple of turns, so is not as secure as the rest. All internal lenses are in good condition, and unscrew easily.

This is a very impressive antique display item, which still works as it should, and works well! 

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GB Telescope Collector

I first started using a telescope in the 60s, to identify aeroplanes arriving at Yeadon airport, in Yorkshire. Then I started to collect and restore vintage brass scopes in the 1990s. The collection boomed later, in the early days of the internet, rising to around 300 in number. I then made a lot of friends via the internet, advising them on how to identify, date or repair their scopes. At the age of 72 I need to disperse these wonderful bits of engineering history, because they still work today as well as they did 200+ years ago! That is the fascination....Some of my collection have already been sold to collectors spread around, in the UK, USA, Ireland, Israel, France and Germany. Several have been returned to the UK descendants of the people who made them, or relations of their previous owners, because they found the stories on my website. Now the collection needs to be dispersed more systematically, so therefore Fleaglass.com is the place to find the real enthusiasts. The first dozen or so telescopes will be added shortly, so please visit this site again soon! Alternatively, if you are looking for a specific telescope, tell me, as maybe I have one!
Nick Denbow, based in Alresford, Hampshire: contact via email on nick@nickdenbow.com

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