- Samuel Williams (1743-1817), Harvard graduate, minister and, for several years, the Hollis Professor at Harvard, used this telescope to observe the most important astronomical event of the eighteenth century: the 1769 Transit of Venus across the face of the sun. He also used it to observe several lunar eclipses and one partial solar eclipse in the 1770s.
- The "Nairne London 1.5/209 = 480" inscription on the tube means that this telescope was made by Edward Nairne (1726-1806). It also indicates that it has a focal length of 1.5 feet and was the 209th Nairne instrument of this size and the 480th Nairne telescope overall. A correlation of serial numbers and dates indicates that this example was made in 1768 or 1769.
- Ref: Samuel Williams, "An Account of the Transit of Venus over the June, June 3d, 1769, as observed at Newbury, in Massachusetts," Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 2 (1786): 246-251.
- Williams, "Astronomical Observations made in the State of Massachusetts," Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1 (1785): 81-124, on 86.
- Gerard l'E. Turner, "The Number Code on Reflecting Telescopes by Nairne and Blunt," Journal for the History of Astronomy 10 (1979): 177-184.
- Currently not on view
- Currently not on view (cover; lense; lense discs; threaded ring to lense)
- Object Name
- Date made
- ca. 1769
- Nairne, Edward
- place made
- United Kingdom: England, London
- Physical Description
- metal, brass (overall material)
- tube: 12 in x 18 in x 9 in x 2 in; 30.48 cm x 45.72 cm x 22.86 cm x 5.08 cm
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Science & Scientific Instruments
- See more items in
- Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.