telescope_makers

Telescope makers

Note:
  This page refers to commercial telescope and instrument manufacturers whose products were in use in Southern Africa. As this region does not have its own manufacturers it was imported. Therefore, although this website is dedicated to the Astronomical History of Southern Africa, the manufacturers discussed here are non-Southern Africa. The exception being the Southern African Astronomical Observatory (S.A.A.O.) who assembled instruments by obtaining components and manufacture / assemble telescopes. Only a brief history of the manufacturers is given.
Southern Africa does have gifted amateur astronomers who produced excellent handmade telescopes. They are discussed under the page
handmade.
No references are given on this page, but follow the links to individual instruments to find the sources. A recommended reading list is given at the end

Index:
Individual Manufacturers:
Clark; Cooke; Dollond; Grubb; Herschel; Jones; Mertz; Metcalf; Simms; Troughton; Watson
     Amalgamated Companies:
Baker-Nunn; Boller & Chivens; Throughton & Simms; Cooke Throughton & Simms; Cox-Hargreaves; Jena; S.A.A.O.

Individual Manufacturers

Clark

Alvan Clark
Instruments:

33 cm (13 inch) used at  Boyden Observatory

Cooke

Instruments:

20 cm (8 inch) used at Cape / Peoples Observatory

Dollond

George Dollond was an English telescope maker (1820’s)
Instruments:

Transit Instrument used at  Cape Observatory
7.6 cm (3 inch) used at  Cape Observatory

Grubb

 Owner was Sir Howard Grubb of Dublin. Grubb Parsons of Newcastle in Ireland. (When did they become Grubb Parson, which telescopes were made in what era?) In the late 19th / early 20th Century they produced instruments that were used in many Colonies of the British Empire. Due to the political situation in Ireland at the time, the workers perceived the company as being pro-British and thus stalled construction.
Instruments:

Reunert Telescope used at Republic Observatory
Radcliffe Telescope used at Radcliffe Observatory / S.A.A.O.
McClean (Victoria) used at Cape Observatory / S.A.A.O.
Innes Telescope used at Republic Observatory
15 cm (6 inch) used for / at Transit of Venus / Cape Observatory
20 cm (8 inch) used at Natal Observatory

Herschel

  The famous father and son combination. They were outstanding astronomers who built their own telescopes. The father, William Herschel, discovered the planet Uranus and compiled a list of double stars and nebulae in the Northern Hemisphere.  He also provided the first reasonably accurate scheme of the shape of the Galaxy. The son, John Herschel, came out to Cape Town between 1834 – 38. John set up a catalogue of double stars, nebulae and clusters of the Southern Sky, was a pioneer of photography, and was co-founder and first President of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Unfortunately it is not always clear which instrument was built by William or John, or if it was a combined effort.
Instruments:

20 ft Telescope used at  Feldhausen Observatory
7 ft. Telescope used at  Feldhausen Observatory
14 ft Telescope used at  Cape Observatory

Jones

  Thomas Jones was an English Telescope maker (1820’s)
Instruments:

Mural Circle used at  Cape Observatory
9 cm (3 ½ inch) used at  Cape Observatory

Mertz (Merz?)

Mertz of Munchen
Instruments:

18 cm (7 inch) used at Cape Observatory

Metcalf

Instruments:

25 cm (10 inch) used at Boyden Observatory

Simms

William Simms
Instruments:

Troughton

  In the 1820’s Edward Troughton was considered as the foremost astronomical instrument of the time. (In England at least) He designed and made the first instruments that were used at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, a 10 ft Transit Instrument and a 6 ft Mural Circle. Dollond and Jones produced replicas of this instrument for the Cape Observatory.
In 1826 the ageing Troughton entered into a partnership with Simms, known as Throughton and Simms. In 1922 this firm amalgamated with Thomas Cooke to become Cooke, Throughton and Simms.
Instruments:

Watson

Instruments:

10 cm (4 inch) used at Natal Observatory

Amalgamated Companies

Baker-Nunn

Instruments:

Quick response camera used at   Olifantsfontein Satelite Tracking Station

Boller & Chivens

Instruments:

20 cm (50 inch) used at Republic Observatory / S.A.A.O.

Throughton & Simms

  In 1826 the ageing Troughton entered into a partnership with Simms, known as Throughton and Simms. In 1922 this firm amalgamated with Thomas Cooke to become Cooke, Throughton and Simms.
Instruments:

Airy Transit Circle used at Cape Observatory
8 cm (3 inch) used at Natal Observatory
Reversible Transit Circle used at Cape Observatory

Cooke, Throughton & Simms

  In 1826 the ageing Troughton entered into a partnership with Simms, known as Throughton and Simms. In 1922 this firm amalgamated with Thomas Cooke to become Cooke, Throughton and Simms.
Instruments:

Cox-Hargreaves

  Different sources state different manufacturers for the telescope known as Cox-Hargreaves. It is either Cox-Hargreaves or Dall-Kirkham.
Instruments:

Cox-Hargreaves used at Cape Observatory

Jena (Zeis-Ikon?)

German manufacturer
Instruments:

Lamont-Hussey Telescope used at Lamont-Hussey Observatory

S.A.A.O. (Southern African Astronomical Observatory)

The S.A.A.O. is one of five mayor Astronomical establishments in Southern Africa. Telescopes mentioned here are all stationed at Sutherland. The Observatory itself helped with the design and construction of the telescopes.
Instruments:
APT
S.A.L.T.

Recommended Reading