(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
That Jules Vernesy thing below is a telescope made by my great-grandpa back in 1936. He was a machinist back in the olden days when people made stuff (aside from the usual wars of aggression, financial collapses, snarky blog comments). Cool stuff that worked and lasted and made you go, “Huh.” I didn’t know the man, but I knew his son, a dashing man enough in a tux (Cary Grant-ish) but when Granny was at his side “fuggeddaboutit” they were drop-dead handsome; also capable with his hands on boats, paintings (a very decent draughtsman), and according to the large nasty dagger he also left behind, apparently, Nazis; he seriously questioned, yelled from shore, who gave my brother and I “permission to go onboard” when we were shark-scared kids (pre-Jaws!) swimming out at Monomoy Island about thirty yards out. Sharks! dude. The friggin’ sharks gave us permission!
The fittings and sighting scope are brass, optics I dunno; the super-swiveling base is poured and wrought iron; the black tube itself is some freaky Martian composite material extracted from a lightweight meteorite, I suppose, but its tubularity is held together by kinky brass rivets running up its backside like seams in stockings (those pics cost money). The Hal 9000 panoptic gaze objective reflects upon a large-ish mirror at the bottom, and is where you look to see the rings on Saturn.
I would estimate that its about as tall as a doorway.
He made the whole damned one-of-a-kind thing and left it to posterity to admire, which we do, even if we don’t clean it with Brasso daily, although that reminds me to de-tarnish the thing. Wish I had better pics, because it is gorgeous simply to behold.