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Thread: How to tell the age of an antique monocular

  1. #1
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    How to tell the age of an antique monocular

    Hello,

    If this is the wrong forum in which to answer my question, I would appreciate being directed to the appropriate one.

    I have inherited an old monocular and am wondering if it was the one used in the Civil War by my ancestor who served in said war. This artical was passed to me by the son of the man who served.

    The monocular is 6" long, compacted. When fully extended, it is 18 and 1/4" long. The circumference is 4 1/2". The instrument is brass, covered with thin black leather, and trimmed with what looks like braided rope. I do not see any maker's mark.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can give me. I have attached 3 pictures.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the CosmoQuest Forums, ksheridan. While the article isn't an astronomical instrument, I've moved your thread to the Astronomical Observing, Equipment and Accessories forum. One of our enthusiasts here may also be familiar with terrestrial optics.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  3. #3
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    Thank you!

  4. #4
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    Regardless of age, it's a lovely artifact. I'd probably call it a telescope, rather than a monocular, since it doesn't appear to have any prisms. Any markings on it? I'd have expected the maker to engrave their name somewhere.

    ETA: The rope trim suggests naval, rather than army use. Do you know where your ancestor served? Also, I assume the image is upright*, is that correct?

    *As opposed to inverted as in an astronomical 'scope.
    Last edited by Trebuchet; 2018-May-20 at 02:13 PM.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  5. #5
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    I’m not familiar with telescopes of the time but it did pique my curiosity. I removed the background from the image and ran it through Google’s image search. The results suggest that similar models were in use from the Civil War era through about World War I.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

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