Filar micrometer by William Herschel, 1780-1800

1780-1800 in England, Slough and Maidenhead
William Herschel
Dated 1780-1800

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Dated 1780-1800
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Eyepiece micrometer inscribed E.2. in wood mount with brass frame and divided circle 1120 divisions, numbered 0 to 60) and steel screw, threads missing. Focal length 1.65 in

Dated 1780-1800, this eyepiece filar micrometer was made by the astronomer, William Herschel for the telescopes he used. In addition to building his own reflecting telescopes, Herschel made his own micrometers. This measuring instrument uses a set of fixed and moveable wires to determine angular distances in the eyepiece of the telescope. In operation, the calibrated handle was used to move the parallel wires delineating the object being measured. The distance was then calculated from the number turns of the handle that is attached to a fine threaded rod connected to the framework holding the moveable wires. Like Herschel's own eyepieces, the body of this instrument is made of cocoa, a tropical hardwood still used for woodwind instruments today.


Object Number:
wood, brass and steel
filar micrometer
Mr John Herschel-Shorland