5 This 5" refractor from the private collection of John Briggs (23k.jpg) is a perfect twin to the original eight "USNO, Transit of Venus telescopes" made by Alvan Clark & Sons, complete with their unmistakable signiture wrapped around the tailpiece. Although this telescope is dated 1875 (the USNO TOV scopes were all dated 1874) it bears no serial number and instead carries the beautifully hand-painted words Abbot Female Academy on an iron casting inside the transportable pillar. John speculates that this telescope could have been a "nineth" USNO TOV telescope, made by the Clarks as a backup for in case something bad happened to one of the original eight.

This seems quite reasonable in the light of the importance of obtaining the 1874 observations and by comparing some surviving correspondence about the early plans for a telescope at Abbot Academy. The school was originally envisioning another Clark telescope (a 7½") which evidently they never got. It seems as though another telescope came up instead (the 5-inch) and after some challenging fundraising, they jumped on it!

Here (32k.jpg) is another view of this telescope. Compare these pictures with an original seen here on Geoff Chester's home page.

Back to 1882 TOV page