Spencer, Browning & Rust large single draw telescope

Spencer, Browning & Rust large single draw telescope

Stock Number: 325


For sale is a large naval telescope by renowned makers Spencer, Browning & Rust, who worked in Wapping, near the Pool of London, supplying the ships docked there. It has a wooden barrel of nearly 2.5" OD, and a long single draw, which is split to give access to the second cartridge of eyepiece lenses. The draw is engraved on the right hand side with "Spencer, Browning & Rust - LONDON - Day or Night". This partnership was operating in Wapping from 1784 until 1839. The large size, 21" (51cms) closed, and 36" (91cms) open, suggests it was for shipboard use by an officer.


36 inches



Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Navigational instruments, Telescopes - Refracting


This large telescope from Spencer, Browning & Rust is offered for sale in very good condition. When closed up, the telescope is 21″ (51cms) long, and fully extended it is 36″ (91cms) long, with an outside diameter of  approx 2.5″. The brass has polished up clean, and all threads run easily. The wooden barrel has been left in the original condition, which is good, but with some scuffs and scratches from use. A 3″ crack in the wood is evident from the objective end of the barrel. All the screws into the wooden barrel have been replaced with suitable brass replacements. The lenses are in good condition, and the telescope works well. There is no objective lens cover, but the bell style eyepiece has a dust slider cover. The weight is 1.03kg, mainly in the brass, so the wooden body makes the telescope easy to support for hand-held use.

The Spencer, Browning & Rust partnership operated from 66 and 327 Wapping, and 66 High Street Wapping, which is near the Pool of London and Tower Hill, from 1784 to 1839: so they undoubtedly traded mainly with the crews of the merchant ships docked there at that time. The bell end style of eyepiece suggests to me a date of the 1820-1839 period. The firm was well-known and had a very good reputation.

For higher definition photos or further queries please contact me by email.

Ask the Dealer

Item enquiry

To enquire about this item, complete the form bellow to send a message to the Dealer

Enter Email
Confirm Email

Dealer information

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

Shipping information
Payment methods
Terms & conditions