Reflecting telescope by William Herschel, 1783-1785

Made:
1783-1785 in Bath
maker:
William Herschel

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Newtonian reflecting telescope with 6 1/8-inch diameter speculum mirror of 7-foot focal length with mahogany tube and
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Newtonian reflecting telescope with 6 1/8-inch diameter speculum mirror of 7-foot focal length with mahogany tube and
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Newtonian reflecting telescope with 6 1/8-inch diameter speculum mirror of 7-foot focal length with mahogany tube and
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Newtonian reflecting telescope with 6 1/8-inch diameter speculum mirror of 7-foot focal length with mahogany tube and
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Newtonian reflecting telescope with 6 1/8-inch diameter speculum mirror of 7-foot focal length with mahogany tube and
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Newtonian reflecting telescope with 6 1/8-inch diameter speculum mirror of 7-foot focal length with mahogany tube and
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Newtonian reflecting telescope with 6 1/8-inch diameter speculum mirror of 7-foot focal length with mahogany tube and
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Newtonian reflecting telescope with 6 1/8-inch diameter speculum mirror of 7-foot focal length with mahogany tube and
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Newtonian reflecting telescope with 6 1/8-inch diameter speculum mirror of 7-foot focal length with mahogany tube and altazimuth stand; includes accessories and a pamphlet of directions for use. Telescope made by Herschel for his friend Sir William Watson in Bath, 1783-1785.

Dated to about 1783-5, this reflecting telescope was made by the famous astronomer, William Herschel for his good friend Dr Watson who he first met in Bath. The telescope has a mahogany 7-foot tube and stand that is operated using pulley ropes and gears. The heart of the telescope is a 6 1/8-inch mirror made of speculum metal, a bronze alloy with arsenic added for a more reflective surface. Herschel ground and polished all his own mirrors and lenses then had them built into telescopes that he sold to supplement his income as royal astronomer to King George III. His patron purchased several instruments while the King of Spain ordered a massive telescope with a 24-inch mirror.

The pamphlet of directions that accompanies this telescope is thought to be written in Caroline Herschel’s hand.

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Details

Category:
Astronomy
Object Number:
1876-1000 Pt1
Materials:
brass, complete, glass, iron, mahogany
type:
telescope - reflecting
taxonomy:
  • component - object
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • optical instrument
  • telescope
  • telescope - reflecting
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • optical instrument
  • telescope
credit:
Smith, E.

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