Refracting Telescope

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Alvan Clark & Sons was the leading telescope firm in the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century. Although famous for its large refractors suitable for advanced astronomical research, the firm also made smaller instruments for educational and amateur purposes. It remained in business until the 1950s.
This example has an achromatic objective of 3 inches aperture, and several eyepieces. The brass tube is 44 inches long and extends to 40 inches. The attached finder scope is 13 inches long. The “ALVAN CLARK & SONS / CAMBRIDGE, MASS.” signature on the faceplate at the eye end was in use during the period 1939-1944. Charles Scovil, a dedicated amateur astronomer in Stamford, Conn., gave it to the Smithsonian in 1977.
Ref: Deborah Warner and Robert Ariail, Alvan Clark & Sons. Artists in Optics (Richmond, 1995).
Currently not on view
date made
1939 - 1944
Alvan Clark & Sons
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Cambridge
overall: 9 in x 53 in x 11 3/4 in; 22.86 cm x 134.62 cm x 29.845 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Charles Scovil
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
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Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History