Rutherfurd Diffraction Grating

Lewis M. Rutherfurd (1816-1892) was an independent astronomer in New York City who began making diffraction gratings around 1871 and distributing them freely to astronomers and physicists in the United States and abroad. By 1875 he was producing gratings with 17,280 lines per inch. This example is a steel plate measuring 1.75 inches square overall, with the ruled area occupying the central 1 inch square. The plate is marked "Dec. 22, 1877" and a card in the box is marked "17,280 No. 1".
Ref. D. J. Warner, "Lewis M. Rutherfurd: Pioneer Astronomical Photographer and Spectroscopist," Technology and Culture 12 (1971): 190-216.
Currently not on view
Object Name
diffraction grating
Rutherfurd diffraction grating
date made
Rutherfurd, Lewis Morris
overall: 7.4 cm x 6.1 cm x 2 cm; 2 29/32 in x 2 13/32 in x 25/32 in
place made
United States: New York
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


Add a comment about this object