Lutz Refracting Telescope

This is a brass instrument on a pillar-and-tripod stand. Its achromatic objective has an aperture of slightly more than 2 inches. The tube is 29 inches long and, with eyepieces, extends to 32½ inches. The “Ed LUTZ / Paris” signature on the eyepiece refers to Édouard Lutz, an optical instrument maker who showed his wares at the international exhibitions held in Paris in 1878 and 1889.
The federal Bureau of Education was formed in 1867 and charged with providing educational information to the states and territories. To this end it collected apparatus and text-books from around the world, and recommended that funds be provided for the organization of an educational museum and the exchange of educational “appliances.” It mounted an extensive display at the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans in 1885, but folded soon thereafter. This telescope was among its instruments. It came to the Smithsonian in 1910, a transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Ref: “Catalogue of the Educational Museum. U.S. Bureau of Education. Sketch of the Origin, Growth, and Objects of the Museum,” in accession file, NMAH.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
late 19th century
Lutz, Edouard
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 30 in x 2 1/2 in; 76.2 cm x 6.35 cm
place made
France: Île-de-France, Paris
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
U.S. Department of the Interior

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