The creation of this publication on antique telescopes began in the spring of 2005 after about four years of seriously collecting a variety of refracting and reflecting telescopes. The sources for the telescopes were dealers, auctions, the Internet, eBay, word-of-mouth, and by chance. To all sellers I say thank you.
I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to Mr. Robert Ariail, Columbia, SC, a charter member of the Antique Telescope Society, co-author of “Alvan Clark and Sons ARTISTS IN OPTICS”, and a collector/restorer of historical telescopes. His invaluable advice early on, and continued encouragement helped to shape this collection. Bob was very gracious over the years hosting several visits of mine to Columbia to see his collection and to garner some of his expertise. I am especially indebted to Bob for his gracious willingness to write the Foreword for this catalog during the fall of 2009 and spring of 2010. I also wish to thank Don Yeier former President and Owner of VernonScope and of Yeier Optics, Candor, NY, for sharing his experiences and insight into antique telescopes and for selling me several fine historical telescopes. My expression of thanks goes also to Timo Mappes, formerly in Karlsruhe, now Jena, Germany, a great advisor on Zeiss and Fraunhofer telescopes, an internet good friend and fellow nanotechnologist; also to Ugo Padovan, Divignano, Italy, who found for me two very special Secretan telescopes, one in Provence, France, and a rare Dollond. His keen sense of humor and a robust philosophy about life has bonded us together as special Internet friends. To Brain Neal owner of Branksome Antiques, Dorset, England, from whom I have the privilege of owning eight of his quality optical instruments (7 telescopes and an important Adams level), a special thank you. My thanks to many other dealers and collectors, including Simon Weber-Unger, now Experte Dorotheum Auctions, Vienna, Stuart Talbot, formerly London, now Lenzkirch, Germany, who continues to provide valuable history on several early British telescope makers and their craft as well as selling to me several special telescopes within the collection, and to Michael Bennett-Levy, Edinburgh, Scotland, and Graham Marsh, Tocholes, England. The late Chris Whittle, former owner of The Collection (not this collection!) in Trumansburg, NY, stimulated my early interest in antiques. Chris did his best, with some success, to divert my attention away from telescopes to flintlock arms and other weapons of least destruction. In the process we became good friends. I would also like to acknowledge Gary McCheyne, owner Cayuga Music Shop, Ithaca, NY, NAPBIRT, Guild of American Luthiers, and good friend, who repaired a major seam split in the brass tube assembly of the front cover-page Dollond FRA7 telescope and who provided much insight into dent repair and brazing, buffing, and polishing of brass instruments. He personally buffed and lacquered FRA7, TRE10 and the brass parts of the pole mount for FRA29.
Dale Loomis of Rumsey and Loomis provided invaluable machine shop expertise for several of the restoration projects, as did Pete and Sam Wright from their machine shop. Also several Cornell machinists, including Paul Bishop and George Petry did some marvelous early machining of special parts, and more recently, Stephen "Chris" Cowulick of the Clark Hall Machine shop provided invaluable restoration expertise, including the close reproduction of early wire knurling and other intricate specialties. Mark Cushing created several beautifully turned mahogany adjuster rods and advised on several projects. Dr. Alton Clark played important roles in the restoration of FRA7 and FRA28 as described in the Restorations chapter. Granddaughter, Lydia Shea, transformed my rough design sketches for the FRA29 pole mount into much improved digital machine drawings.
Also, I would like to acknowledge several individuals, institutions, and auction houses for their courteous permission, often gratis, to use their photographs.
I have had the good fortune to become acquainted with Yuri Petrunin, President of Telescope Engineering Company in Golden, CO. Yuri visited our home in 2012 and during his brief stay he provided valuable guidance and advice on the collection. Recently, he made preliminary optical measurements on several of my more important telescopes. I value greatly his expertise and friendship.
As I turned my attention toward China for possible buyers, Dr. Thomas H. Hahn, Ph.D., gave valuable counsel and advice on Chinese culture. Dr. Hahn also made a few initial contacts in China. Please see his excellent image archive at www.hahn.zenfolio.com.
I wish to acknowledge valuable input to this catalog and to the documentation and background of telescope FRE1, TRE16, and TRE17 by Dr. William Tobin in Vannes, France, author of "The Life and Science of Leon Foucault, The Man Who Proved the Earth Rotates." Dr. Tobin and I have exchanged numerous emails regarding these telescopes. He discovered an obscure reference to an old Secretan pamphlet dated 14 August 1858 that states my FoucaultSECRETAN (TRE16) telescope can be used as a microscope. Exploring the use of TRE16 and its ocular as microscopes, and taking a closer look at the oculars of FRE1 and TRE17 were all the direct result of Dr. Tobin's discovery. He kindly allowed me to use his ray tracing plots for the TRE16 ocular in this catalog.
I happily acknowledge recent collaborations with Professor Tsuko Nakamura, author of "The Earliest Telescope Preserved in Japan", Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, 11(3), 203-212 (2008). His knowledge of Mori Nizaemon telescopes has provided valuable guidance for dating HRA28 Mori Nizaemon Masatomi within this collection, which is an ongoing effort.
Also, I wish to thank Dr. Marvin Bolt, Curator of Science and Technology, Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY, for his friendship and encouragement, and his most valuable advice and counsel regarding certain key aspects of the collection.
A special note of appreciation is extended to Gary Hodges, Ithaca, NY, for his professional photography and perseverance. He brought each telescope into beautiful focus and rendered the collection a visual pleasure while keeping me on my toes with his good humor, needling and joking. He stayed the course for nearly two years of photographing the collection. He had to deal simultaneously with dark mahogany wood with near zero reflectivity and highly polished brass with reflectivity near one with the added complication of telescopes extending 8 to 16 feet into the air - a photographer's nightmare for uniform exposure and focus. I believe the catalog reflects nicely his professional skills in lighting and composition. He optimized all variables, including my constraint to shoot JPEG versus RAW, skillfully and successfully as revealed beautifully on each page of this photo-rich collection catalog. Thank you, Gary.
Marlene Wolf and Shelly (Wolf) Muray
To my daughter, Shelly Muray, owner and chief designer of Digital Designs in Moraga, CA, a most sincere thank you for her professional guidance and expertise. She assisted in the design and layout of the digital and hardcopy presentations of this publication. She also did post-processing on many key photos within the catalog, including the cover pages and gallery dividers. Most important, the Wolf Telescopes website (www.wolftelescopes.com) was Shelly's creation. Discussions with Shelly’s husband, Dr. Lawrence P. Muray, led to the one-page summary presentation for each of the telescopes.
Most recently, granddaughter Hannah Shea, has contributed on many fronts from finishing square-head brass hardware on FRA29, to precision dimensional measurements of reflector mirrors, to weighing and measuring telescopes for packing and shipping. Thanks, Hannah, it was fun for me and of great help.
Finally, I express my deep appreciation to my wife, Marlene Kay Wolf, who believed, for a moment in time, that this was an important investment activity, but all too soon saw it for what it was, an addictive hobby. With great forbearance, she has cheerfully allowed me to go this far, but no further! She advised on many fronts and did extensive proof reading to help me express it correctly.
A sincere thank you to all who have been involved with Wolf Telescopes. You have added to the quality and enjoyment of the journey!