Victorian Telescope Makers: The Lives and Letters of Thomas and Howard Grubb
© Material on this web page I.S. Glass
(Except as mentioned)
IOP Publishing [now Taylor and Francis]), Bristol and Philadelphia, 1997. Pp xiii+279; ISBN 0 7503 0454 5; now out of print
This book is about a remarkable family business
that operated in Rathmines, Dublin, for nearly a century. As makers of some
of the largest and best-known telescopes of the Victorian era, the Grubbs
were at the forefront of optical and mechanical engineering.
The cover (right) shows the Great Melbourne Telescope, as erected in Grubb's yard in Rathmines, Dublin, in 1868, shortly before it was shipped to Melbourne.
The founder of the firm, Thomas Grubb, was an innovator in the field of telescope making and optical design. One of his earliest instruments - the Markree telescope in the West of Ireland - was, for several years, the largest telescope in the world. He was also responsible for the construction of the Great Melbourne Telescope , the largest equatorially mounted instrument for several decades, dwarfed only by the 3rd Earl of Rosse's crudely mounted "Leviathan of Parsonstown". The Melbourne telescope, after extensive reconstruction, was used for the "MACHO" gravitational lensing project. It was destroyed in the Mount Stromlo fire of 2003. Shown on right is a public observatory he operated at his factory near Charlemont Bridge, Dublin.
© M.L. Shane Archive, Lick Observatory
Howard Grubb (left) formalized the business, built a new factory (right) and capitalized on the rapid growth of astrophotography and astrophysics. He obtained the contract for what was briefly the world's largest refractor, the 27-inch centrepiece of the Royal and Imperial Observatory in Vienna.
© University of Vienna Observatory
Not a KKK meeting, but Casting the speculum metal mirror of the Great Melbourne Telescope (1866). The metal was heated at the right and carried in the red-hot pot to the tilting apparatus (centre foreground). It was poured into the circular mould, which was then placed into the annealing furnace at the back of the room.
The titles of the chapters are:
The Great Melbourne Telescope MACHO
The 1870s - David Gill
The Great Vienna telescope Vienna
(Other pictures available on above web site also)
Grubb and the Lick telescope
Never so busy - the 1880s
Gill and the Astrographic Project
The McClean Telescope
End of the 19th century
1905-1925: The last years of the firm
Publications by T. Grubb
Publications by H. Grubb
List of Grubb telescopes etc.