An inventory of the contents of Mount Vernon following George Washington's death reveals that the former surveyor and general owned 12 "Spye glasses" and one larger telescope. The latter was this London-made Gregorian telescope that Washington displayed in his study. Through its lens, he could glimpse ships on the Potomac or study the stars and planets. Telescopes such as this came with two eyepieces that served different functions based on the viewer's needs. This telescope only survives with the "sun filter," a non-optic lens made of red opaque glass that scientists believed would protect the viewer's eyes when observing the sun. More


c. 1765-1789




A: Copper alloy, textile, glass, paint B: Copper alloy


Overall: 15 3/4 in. x 3 in. x 18 1/2 in. (40.01 cm x 7.62 cm x 46.99 cm)
Other (A): 3 in. x 3 in. x 18 1/2 in. (7.62 cm x 7.62 cm x 46.99 cm)
Other (B): 11 1/4 in. x 9 7/8 in. x 8 1/2 in. (28.58 cm x 25.1 cm x 21.59 cm)


Purchase, 1920


Engraved mark on the end of the barrel reads: "Whitford*London".

Object Number



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