Telescopes of Vermont
66 Partridge Hill
Norwich VT 5055
There is a certain telescope like no other. Those who encounter it often don't believe that it is a telescope. Were it not so optically profound, it would be called sculpture or a sundial. Some think it looks like a swan or a ginger leaf. But there is one point of universal accord. All find it beautiful. It is a reflecting telescope, that ingenious device invented by Sir Isaac Newton, all mirrors and no smoke, but it has turned the familiar design on its head. The tube is gone, replaced by a slender leaf which holds the optics. The instrument is floral grace incarnate, more tulip than telescope. Sensuous Art Nouveau curves lighten bronze into botany, belying its robust structure. A garden centerpiece, it surrenders its optics in seconds, transforming to sundial and sculpture, a visual anchor to a landscape.
The elegant Porter Garden Telescope was first created in the early 1920s by Russell Porter, father of amateur astronomy in America, founder of the Springfield Telescope Makers, and instructor at MIT. Today, Telescopes of Vermont is faithfully crafting The Porter Garden Telescope again. Entirely of bronze, each unit is the fruit of four hundred hours of hand work. Its optics are modern and superb.
Fred Schleipman, engineer, machinist and inventor, began his crusade to resurrect the garden telescope after viewing its artistry at the Springfield Telescope Makers in Springfield, Vermont. In 2006, he set about finding the craftsmen necessary for success. He knew he was looking for skills that are disappearing, and scoured the continent for a high-caliber staff of artisans and engineers. They all surfaced in New England.
The pattern maker and foundrymen are superb talents. Their joint work embellishes the homes of global luminaries and many government buildings, including the Japanese Diet. The optics are designed by gentlemen who create the systems for military satellites. The moving parts are machined to tenths of thousandths of an inch and they function with a quiet and substantial gravitas. Details include knurling, with burnished highlights that yield the look of a scientific instrument from the 1700s.
When British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore saw the telescope, he dubbed her "Capella", after one of the brightest stars, always visible in the Northern hemisphere. The name is beautiful and feminine, and was bestowed, appropriately, by the man who suggested that a lunar crater be named for Russell Porter.
The humble telescope has stood by Bugattis and Delahayes at the Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach, shared space with Galileo's world changing miracle in Philadelphia, bowed to millions on CBS Sunday Morning, and delighted the Queen in London. But most importantly it has whisked countless folks to the heavens on a trip they'd never taken, and created shared and treasured moments for mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons.
With the authorization of the Springfield Telescope Makers, founded by Porter, Telescopes of Vermont offers its garden telescope in a numbered, limited edition to discerning buyers who are looking for a truly distinctive centerpiece for their landscape. Whether you are creating your own garden design or working with an architect, residential landscape architect, or interior designer, Telescopes of Vermont will work with you to support the unique permanent installation in your setting.