This instrument produced a high dispersion by passing light through the lower part of four tall equilateral prisms, through a totally reflecting prism, and back through the upper part of the prisms. It was probably made to order (for whom we do not know), and was probably fairly expensive. The “John Browning 63 Strand, London” inscription on the horizontal circle refers to the first important English spectroscope maker. Browning was at this address from 1872 to around 1900.
Browning advertised this as a “Large Model Spectroscope, for the use of Physicists,” noting that it cost over ₤38, and that it was similar to the one he had made for John Peter Gassiot, a prominent fellow of the Royal Society of London.
Ref: John Browning, How to Work with the Spectroscope (London, 1878), p. 57.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Browning, John
overall: 14 in; 35.56 cm
aperture, telescope: 1 1/2 in; 3.81 cm
aperture, collimators: 1 1/2 in; 3.81 cm
focal length: 18 in; 45.72 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Scientific Instruments
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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