Spy Glass

Spy Glass

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
This short refracting telescope consists of two brass tubes. The inner one is engraved “Ramsden / London” and calibrated from one to four. The objective lens, 1¼ inches aperture, is achromatic. A dial [not yet understood] adjusts the eyepiece. The telescope is housed in a cylindrical cardboard container covered in shagreen.
Jesse Ramsden (1735-1800) was a prominent maker of mathematical and optical instruments who began in business in 1762, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1786.
Currently not on view
Object Name
telescope (spyglass)
date made
Jesse Ramsden
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
glass (overall material)
shagreen (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 12 cm x 4.2 cm; 4 23/32 in x 1 21/32 in
overall, case: 2 1/4 in x 5 5/8 in x 2 1/4 in; 5.715 cm x 14.2875 cm x 5.715 cm
overall, telescope: 1 5/8 in x 1 3/4 in x 4 3/4 in; 4.1275 cm x 4.445 cm x 12.065 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
SAP 993
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of American Pharmaceutical Association and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
European Apothecary
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object