History and leather, value and beauty intertwining in one of the most precious instruments of scientific development: Galileo Galilei’s binocular. One of the two unique binoculars is covered in leather and located inside Florence’s Museo Galileo – Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, where we went to see it.
Between history and science. Galileo’s binocular is made by a tube inside which are two lenses: one convex and one concave. Galileo visited Venice in 1609, where he saw the prototypes built in 1608 by Hans Lipperhey, Dutch optician, and after it Galileo tried to improve it. While doing so, Galileo also added leather to the outside of the instrument.
Did you know?
The pair of binoculars owned by Galileo is one of the major attractions of the Museum. One is made with two minor section and a main tube covered in paper. The second has a tube with the glass pieces at the ends (which is the one covered in leather). The tube is in fact made by wood pieces and covered in dark leather decorated with gold designs.
The magic of time
The instrument is one of the biggest attractions of the museum, also thank to the restoration activities done on the binocular. Leather is once again one of the main characters, part of a unique trip that went through the centuries.