Raynes Park based telescope maker attracts Wall Street Journal fame
The unique handiwork of a telescope maker has become the focus of international attention.
Richard Day’s telescopes, Skylight Telescopes, are each handcrafted at his Raynes Park home where he has lived with his wife Wendy and eight-year-old son Jackson since 1997.
What began as a hobby a decade ago has become a full-time profession, and his latest model, the Skylight AR101.15 has attracted attention from the Wall Street Journal because of the combination of Victorian style with modern optics.
He is the only London telescope maker and sources exclusive lenses from New York company Tele Vue, with each design taking him between two and three weeks to produce.
His customers typically include professors and academics attracted to his refractor telescopes which have a big lens to enable views of the moon’s craters.
Mr Day, from Fairway Road, began to show an interest in astronomy 10 years ago on a visit to Bordeaux when he noticed the stars in the sky because of the clear visibility, in comparison to London.
The decision to turn his "niche hobby" into a business began when he became a full time father to Jackson and found a Victorian refractor telescope on ebay.
He said: "This was my moment of inspiration because of its beauty. It gave me the enthusiasm to make my own by buying a set of lenses to build around."
The 43-year-old Canadian said in January this year he used an exclusive new lens which took his work to another level and his telescope was noticed and celebrated in the Wall Street Journal.
He said: "I received the email out of the blue from the Wall Street Journal and it has been a very eventful year."
So keen were the paper, when he was unable to provide a picture of one of his models, a New York-based client drove his own eyepiece to the Brooklyn office so it could be photographed.
Since the article was published he has seen great surge in website traffic.
He said: "It was quite a surprise to be part of the Wall Street Journal and was quite exciting."
His business has grown every year since he sold his first telescope four years ago and has sold 80 overall.
The state-of-the-art telescopes start at £1360 and reach prices of £2150.
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