This is a medium sized telescope in excellent condition from a good maker, with a unique and interesting engraving. A two-draw brass telescope with an oak wooden barrel, not just a veneer on a brass barrel.
The engraving tells that the maker is J P Cutts and Sons, in Sheffield. They were therefore quite a way from the sea, but maybe close to suppliers of good drawn tube. So it was maybe intended for sporting use, rather than naval use – we can only speculate.
But the engraving also says that the makers were “Opticians to Her Majesty”, which implies to Queen Victoria, because JP Cutts worked from Sheffield from 1822-1841, based in Division Street from 1828 to 1841. They became JP Cutts, Sons, and Sutton in 1851, so this might imply that this telescope was made before 1851. The engraving is interesting, in that the “Her” looks to be a different script than the rest of the engraved letters, so the scope might be dated only just after Victoria’s Coronation, say in 1841, marginally into the Victorian era, and certainly before 1851. So it is over 165 years old.
There are only minor dings and imperfections to the draws, but the instrument works as it should. More important when looking at old telescopes, all the screws into the barrel are original, they don’t look like they have ever been unscrewed. All the lenses are in original condition, in my opinion.
Under the sunshade over the objective there at first look to be four air exhaust holes, to aid the telescope action, but in fact these are the recessed screws holding the objective assembly to the barrel. In fact the barrel extends well forward towards the objective, giving more strength to the objective mount. Maybe air exhaust holes are not needed in medium-sized telescopes.
The telescope length, when fully opened, is 20.5”: closed down it is 7.5”, so it is medium sized, rather than a pocket telescope. The wooden barrel, which appears to be oak, is in good condition, and 72mm is visible. The sunshade is 70mm externally, and the largest diameter of the scope body is 42mm.
A full description of the J.P. Cutts business, with further examples of their telescopes and microscopes, is given by Brian Stevenson on the webpage microscopist.net/CuttsJP.html. There Stevenson points out that the company later introduced a Trade Mark, including an anchor, using the “TRY ME” brand. He also notes that often the ‘J’ would be written as an ‘I’, although his full names were John Priston Cutts, and confirms the period of JPCutts & Sons as being around 1840-45.
Subsequently, after buying several others with this Trade Mark, I can say definitely that the Trade Mark should say “TRY MF”. This is what appears when the engraving is distinct and readily readable! It has also been seen on a Newton of Halifax branded scope, presumably a J.P.Cutts reseller.
This Telescope has been sold
Acquired earlier this year, this is not my personal preferred style of telescope, so in August 2016 it was advertised for sale on Ebay, for GBP80, UK delivery postage paid. It was then sold within a week.
Accession number 282.