Newton's first telescope replica
This extraordinary hand-made replica telescope is a faithful, fully-functioning reproduction of Newton's famous reflecting telescope presented to the Royal Society in London in 1672.
Fully functioning The replica is not just a a display piece - it is fully functional and its single element eyepiece will produce a magnification sufficient to reveal the craters on our Moon and the four moons of Jupiter - under ideal conditions - as well as terrestrial details.
17th-century technology The replica telescope features near identical construction methods when compared to the original. The replica features a hand-ground and figured soft-metal main mirror and hand-turned woodwork for the base, pedestal and mounting ball. The brass and other metals used in the construction have all been hand-fettled and painstakingly assembled using the same methods available to Newton in the 17th century.
Click the lowermost picture to see a video presentation of this unique replica telescope.
Made in England The telescope is made entirely in England with all raw materials selected from within the British Isles - the hard woods used in the replica, for example, were all grown in Britain.
Important features of the replica Firstly, this is an authentic replica and not merely a toy telescope, unlike the wildly over-marketed Vixen offering. The AE replica is designed to provide the look and optical performance of the 17th-century original and utilises essentially only 17th century technology in its construction. The optical system is fully functional and gives views, the creators believe, that would be very close to the original. It will be noted that the replica has a much cleaner, brighter appearance compared to the original (follow the link below to see a picture of the original telescope). This difference in appearance is hardly surprising; the original is over 330 years old! The replica will probably look a bit dark and worm-eaten by the year 2340 as well! The creators decided to make the telescope, as near as possible, resemble the look of the instrument as it was presented to the Royal Society in London in the year 1672. The brass plate on the replica (see pictures) carries the same text as the original held by the Royal Society (with the added declaration in small print that the telescope is a replica and lists the names of the creators). The brass plate also faithfully records the bizarre spelling found in the text of the original ('INUENTED BI' instead of INVENTED BY).
The brass and other metal components of the telescope are deliberately unlacquered and will tarnish over time (so that the telescope develops a natural time-worn patina, much like the original). The only concession to the effects of time is the modern silicon coatings on the optical components. The optical components in the original quickly deteriorated due to natural tarnishing (and were then fatally destroyed by cleaning!). The replica's optical components have been over-coated to ensure that the telescope enjoys a lifetime of function. The functionality of the metal work closely follows the original, and the telescope strips down in a way identical to the original (see video link under pictures - left). The wooden ball is not just a beautiful example of hand-made craftsmanship - it is also very convenient and functional - and works exactly like the original - just like all the other features of the replica.
A museum quality replica Based on technical monographs and a detailed photographic study of the original, the Newton's reflecting telescope replica is a detailed reproduction that has striven to capture as much authentic detail as feasible.
The replica includes a detailed printed article that covers some of the history of the original and the steps taken, and construction methods used, by the creation team to produce the replica.
Hand-made by experts The replica is manufactured by Astro Engineering, and is a rare departure from their normal activity as designers and manufacturers of telescope accessories. The replica was conceived and designed by Robert J Dalby, founder of Astro Engineering, and the vital all-metal primary mirror was hand-ground and brought to its final figure by optician Terry Pierce. The woodwork was hand-turned by James Munson, a life-long wood-working expert (Mr Munson and his craftsmanship featured in Country Life magazine in their 'Living National Treasure' series in 1997).
Very limited production Each replica is individually numbered and signed by the designer Robert Dalby.
So far less than twenty replicas have been manufactured, and because of the manufacturing difficulties the total production run is not expected to run beyond 50 replica telescopes.
Click the link below to read more about the replica by its creator Robert J Dalby:
Replica of Newton's reflecting telescope
This telescope, though fully functioning as described above, is intended a display piece and, just like the original of 1672, is not designed for extensive use. The images produced by this small telescope are very poor by today's standard; the replica should be enjoyed as an ornamental conversation piece illustrating 400 years of the telescope and the timeless genius of the world's greatest scientist, Sir Issac Newton.