Washington depended on telescopes to monitor British and American troop movements during the Revolution. His wartime correspondence contains frequent requests for and purchases of "[spy] glasses" and "pocket telescopes." In his will, Washington identified this handsome, three-draw, mahogany and brass spyglass by the well-known London optical instrument maker Henry Pyefinch as one "which constituted part of my equipage during the late War," and bequeathed it to his old friend, and cousin, Lawrence Washington. It was later returned to Mount Vernon by Mrs. Jefferson Davis in 1899. More


c. 1774-1783




Brass, mahogany, glass


Overall (Length closed, diameter at objective lens end): 2 1/4 in. x 10 1/2 in. (5.72 cm x 26.67 cm)
Overall (Length extended, diameter at eyepiece): 1 1/2 in. x 32 1/2 in. (3.81 cm x 82.55 cm)


Gift of Varina Howell Davis, 1899


Engraved on brass eyepiece in script: "Pyefinch/ Cornhill. London".

Object Number



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