From an illustration in the Opera Varia of Christian Huyghens.
Attempts were made to evade this unwieldiness by constructing them with skeleton tubes. or , indeed, even without tubes at all; the object-glass in the tubeless or "aerial" telescope being fixed at the top of a high post, and the eye-piece, that small lens or combination of lenses, which the eye looks directly into, being kept in line with it by means of a string and manœuvred about near the ground. The idea of a telescope without a tube may appear a contradiction in terms; but it is not really so, for the tube adds nothing to the magnifying power of the instrument, and is, in fact, no more than a mere device for keeping the object-glass and eye-piece in a straight line, and for preventing the observer from being hindered by stray lights in his neighbourhood. It goes without saying, of course, that the image of a celestial object will be more clear and defined when examined in the darkness of a tube.