Scarce and important French achromatic monocular signed “Marie au Grifon” c.1755

Scarce and important French achromatic monocular signed “Marie au Grifon” c.1755



10,5 x 15,5 cm



Country of manufacture


Categories: Monoculars, Telescopes - Refracting


A very rare French achromatic spyglass or monocular signed by the great Parisian optician Marie, Quai de l’horloge, “au Grifon”. 

According with the type and datation of this kind of achromatic monocular the instrument was made by Marie junior, still established “Au Grifon” Quai de l’horloge, as his father.

Furthermore his rare signature, known for only few telescopes (I can trace only one) and only one box microscope, the optical configuration of the spyglass is here particulary interesting and important in the French production.

Indeed, the objective is a very thick doublet and the eyepiece is composed by two different lenses of different magnificiation, that we can change easly, BUT ALSO by a second concave lens like in the refracting Galilean telescope. The inner tube have two different diaphragms at each side.

The French achromatic spyglasses or telescopes from this period (contemporary from the Dollond invention of achromatism doublet) are really rare and underlines the fact that the present Marie’s spyglass is a high quality instrument and very innovative for the time.

Furthermore, as I also describe, the eyepiece is unusual and quite complexe for a simple monocular.

The instrument in constructed in cardboard, leather, tinted green paper with gilt decoration and brass. The optics is good and the image small but good.

An important instrument for the very early diffusion in France of achromatism and signed by a great French optician of which the signature is very difficult to find (websterdatabase cites only the box microscope signed by “Marie à Paris”, doesn’t have spyglass or monocular signed by Marie).

Total lenght : 10,5×15,5cm

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FR Le Zograscope

Established by Alexandre Piffault in 2014 and based in Paris, Le Zograscope specializes in antique and rare books in Science, Medicine and Technology, and rare antique instruments in the same fields. We have especially a strong interest in early and continental microscopy, early and special mathematical/drawing instruments, medical and surgical instrument, and rare technology.

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