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made in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire

Postcard of Telescope.
© National Museums Scotland


This telescope was made around 1850 by Thomas Morton, a carpet machinery maker and scientific instrument maker based in Kilmarnock in East Ayrshire. The curved rack governing the angle of the telescope is a striking feature of Morton's telescope design.

The reflecting telescope's brass barrel is supported by two tapering pillars. The pillars are mounted on a mahogany plate revolving on an iron spoked-wheel base with three small brass feet. Engraved on the end plate is 'Thos. Morton / KILMARNOCK'.

Thomas Morton's interest in telescope construction led him to study astronomy. In 1818, he built an astronomical observatory in Kilmarnock, furnished with instruments which he had made, and which was open to the public.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-725-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1974.97
Date: Around 1850
c. 1850
Material: Brass barrel, mahogany plate, iron base, with brass feet. Inscription: Thos. Morton / KILMARNOCK
Dimensions: 430 mm H x 780 mm L x 330 mm D
What: Telescope, reflecting
Subject: 3. ASTRONOMY, Reflecting telescopes (Departmental Classification)
22. PHYSICS, Light (Departmental Classification)
Who: Thomas Morton, Kilmarnock (Maker)
Where: Scotland, Ayrshire, Kilmarnock
Description: Gregorian reflecting telescope, signed by Thomas Morton of Kilmarnock, c. 1850
  • Clarke, T.N., Morrison-Low, A.D. & Simpson, A.D.C. Brass & glass scientific instrument making workshops in Scotland as illustrated by instruments from the Arthur Frank Collection at the Royal Museum of Scotland. Edinburgh: NMS, 1989. pp 188-194 
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