6 draw antique Telescope by Rowland of Bristol
Stock Number: 278
Offered for sale is a vintage brass multi-draw telescope, a 6-draw antique telescope by Rowland of Bristol. Multi-draw telescopes are very compact and convenient to carry - this scope by Rowland is only 5.3" long when folded. The six separate draw tubes expand the open length to a maximum of 23". The main barrel is brass, with a black leather covering. The Rowland family had a long history with telescope supply to the mariners of Bristol, between 1792 and 1851.
5.3 inches and 38mm dia
Country of manufacture
UK and Ireland
Here a multi-draw telescope is offered for sale, made and engraved by Rowland of 50 Broad Quay, in the port of Bristol. The six draws make the unit very compact when folded up, measuring only 5.3″ (13.5cms) in length, and with a diameter of 38mm. The unit is made from brass, including the barrel, but this would have had a covering probably of leather. When received, the barrel was bare metal, with evidence of a thick coat of a red coloured paint. A modern black leather sleeve has been applied to the barrel to replace the missing covering, as seen in one of the pictures – if required this cover can be removed before delivery.
The lenses are in good condition: the flat eyepiece has a built-in dust cover which slides across the aperture easily. There is no objective cover. Unusually the focusing is conventional, achieved by pushing the first draw into the second draw: the short length of the draws is compensated inside the scope by using a ridge inside the second draw tube, to pull the second lens cartridge into the second draw – a novel feature. (See the photos) For this scope, the movement needed to achieve focus is nearly 70mm. For this reason it will focus down to as close as about 10 feet, retaining the high magnification: ideal for looking at garden bird feeders.
Most of the draw tubes are in excellent condition, but the second tube has some damage next to the threaded insert that holds it in place (see the photos). The sliders which provide these inserts are well designed, with a shoulder at the end of the tube, and an internal thread approximately an inch inside the tube, giving all the joints good stability/rigidity, which can be the downfall of cheaper versions of multi-draw telescopes. This joint rigidity helps make the scope image easily visible.
Ask the Dealer
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. Since then I have made a lot of friends via the internet, advising them on how to identify, date or repair their scopes. At the age of 74 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 relatives of their previous owners, because they found the stories on my website. Now the collection needs to be dispersed more systematically. If you are looking for a specific telescope, just ask, maybe I have one! If you want better pictures of the telescopes shown here, these can be emailed. Nick Denbow, based in Alresford, Hampshire: contact via email on firstname.lastname@example.org