For sale, a mid-Victorian three draw telescope by M. Aronsberg & Co of 39 Castle Street, Liverpool.
A great and very useable Victorian example measuring 74cms when extended and 24cms when retracted and with an one and a half inch objective lens which according to the engraving on the draw tube provides “22 x power”. Aside from this, the first raw tube is engraved to the maker, “M. Aronsberg, Liverpool.” The telescope is complete with its original black leather barrel covering and has an extendable sun shade that pulls forward from the objective end. At full length with the shade, the telescope measured 81cms.
Maurice Aronsberg was a Russian Jew, born in 1835 in Courland, an area which was then part of The Russian Empire but now a region in Western Latvia. By the age of twenty, he had moved with his family to Glasgow as newspaper advertisements of 1855 list a glaziers company under the name of W&M Aronsberg (the brothers William & Maurice). It is likely that the family’s stay in Scotland was fairly shortlived as he is listed as having married a Prussian, Eva Prag in 1858 in Liverpool whilst his brother (who also married a Prag) is listed as residing in Manchester. Both brothers seem to have set themselves up as opticians, perhaps not such a stretch given their earlier involvement with the glass industry.
The earliest recorded advertisement for M. Aronsberg & Co are in welsh paper of the late 1860’s and examples of his adverts continue to appear until the late 1880’s outlining a plethora of goods available at his 39 Castle Street address, including spectacles, field glasses, telescopes, microscopes, magic lanterns, model steam engines, barometers and numerous pieces of philosophical apparatus. He states that they both manufacture and import goods and his overseas connections may have allowed him access to the French market. His later pieces state that the company had branches in both Liverpool and Paris.
The company certainly continued to trade into the early twentieth century, it is known from census records that Maurice had his family working alongside him so it is likely that it operated past the founder’s death in 1911. The lack of records thereafter may suggest that the company failed due to the onset of the First World War.