The optics, leather and gold tooling of the telescope suggest how scientific instruments were crafted with a combination of engineering expertise and bookbinding arts. Galileo’s telescope included two lenses, an ocular lens near the eye, and an objective lens at the far end of the tube. The lenses were secured within separate tubes, one inside the other, which might “telescope” the instrument longer or shorter as need be to the appropriate focal length. Galileo improved the telescope by crafting his own lenses, grinding a more convex objective lens than the ones available for spectacles.
Two telescope replicas are on display as part of Galileo’s World:
First, the Museo Galileo, in Florence, Italy, provided a Galileo telescope replica to OU for the Galileo’s World exhibition 2015-2016. It was displayed at Bizzell Memorial Library and at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. See also Galileo’s original telescope at the Museo Galileo.
A second telescope replica was fashioned by Tom Huston Orr, Director and James Garner Chair of the Helmerich School of Drama of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts at OU. This telescope was used as a prop in the production of Galileo’s Torch, a play by James Reston, Jr., which made its world debut in a performance at OU in Spring 2017. This telescope replica remains on display in Bizzell Memorial Library.