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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 01/05/2008 06:41:36 EDT
Subject: Telescope, US Signal Service

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Civil War militaria dealer Dave Taylor, in his New Year's 2008 on-line catalog (link below) offers a telescope inscribed with "U.S. Signal Service," a serial number "2," and the maker/supplier "Robert B. Tolles," a Boston maker better known for his microscopes. Price is $1,350.

Taylor notes that this is post-war (which I believe is correct), but offers it as representative of the 1860s era army signal corps 'scope. (Tolles moved from Conastota, NY, to Boston in 1867.) Use of the term, "Signal Service" suggests a later date to me -- 1870s or '80s. Either the number "2" is Tolles's own, or the war-time (1864-'65) serials had not been continued post-war. Taylor suggests a lot of six and perhaps has some contract information. (I'll ask.) The 'scope is similar to that of the Queen-Bardou type -- I'm not sure whether assembled by Tolles from imported parts (perhaps with his optics?) or a new manufacture by him. Tolles is not listed in the 1999 Bazelon & McGunn Directory of American Mil Goods DFealers & Makers.

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