Monumental Swiss Brass Telescope by Perrelet

2 minute read


This monumental and rare telescope, constructed by the Swiss firm Perrelet of Geneva, is a scientific masterpiece. Among the finest telescopes crafted during the 19th century, this remarkable scientific wonder is on par with the very best telescopes made for the Royal Observatory. Made to view both the earth and sky, the extraordinary instrument features a lens that measures an impressive 7.5-inch diameter, over two times as large as a typical scope of the period. Crafted of brass, it rests upon a “catapult” base with a complex system of weights and pulleys, which allows the lens to slide from side to side and to raise from less than 90 degrees to approximately 175 degrees. This base also allows for ease of movement and transport, complete with a mechanism to stake itself into the ground. Expertly constructed and beautifully maintained, this colossal telescope is a true scientific wonder.

Mounted with a brass plaque reading "Colonna Consteur d'Insments d'Optique / Chez Perrelet et 6 rue des Alpes 18 / Geneve"

Circa 1810

89" high x 100" wide x 47" deep

Perrelet of Geneva was founded in the 1770s by the Swiss horologist Abraham-Louis Perrelet, who is best remembered today as the developer of the first automatic winding wristwatch. It was his grandson, Louis-Frédéric Perrelet, who had a distinctive interest in astronomy, physics and the sciences, and under his direction, the company branched out into scientific instruments. It was in 1823, the same period this telescope was constructed, that Louis-Frédéric presented an astronomical clock at the Universal Exhibition. The clock was so well received that he was named watchmaker and mechanic to three subsequent French kings. His other inventions included marine watches with measuring instruments and a split second precision chronograph he patented in 1827. Today, a number of pieces in museums and private collections by Perrelet were produced by Louis-Frédéric during this most fruitful and inventive period in the company's history.






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