Sky’s the Limit

Part science, part art, a stargazing classic is reborn.

"The moment I saw it, I was smitten," Fred Schleipman says of the garden telescope created in the twenties by MIT professor Russell Porter, the father of amateur astronomy in the United States. "I knew I’d have one someday, even if I had to make it myself." Schleipman, an engineer and inventor, spent 35 years convincing Springfield Telescope Makers to let him borrow an original—the Smithsonian also owns one—and organizing a team of artisans to replicate Porter’s Art Nouveau masterpiece. This summer Schleipman’s first ten telescopes (priced at $59,000) will finally be completed. Each is a meticulously calibrated sculpture, perched on a pedestal of Vermont marble. The bronze components, which include a sundial, take a week to cast and require 100 hours of assembly. A pair of removable eyepieces provides different magnifications. Though you won’t make out the rings of Saturn with this telescope, it’s perfect for surveying the moon and identifying nearby stars. It can also be used in day- light, for homing in on earthly delights.

For further information and sales, contact Telescopes of Vermont at 617-292-5155 or visit