Binocular Telescope

Ever since the invention of the telescope around 1600, many opticians have considered the advantages of binocular telescopes, and some actually produced instruments of this sort. The form, however, did not become widely available until the latter decades of the19th century. This example is an aluminum instrument with aluminum sunshades. The objective lenses are about 1.6 inches diameter; the length overall, when closed, is about 11 inches. One eyepiece barrel is marked “T. W. Watson / Optician” and the other is marked “4 Pall Mall / London.” The cross frame has two knobs, one for focusing and one for adjusting the inter-ocular distance. The barrels are covered with black leather. The case is brown leather.
The signature refers to T. W. Watson (fl. 1868 to 1884), a man who sold guns as well an assortment of optical instruments.
Currently not on view
Object Name
binocular telescope
date made
late 19th century
overall: 11 in; 27.94 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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