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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 has speculum metal optics and a long external focusing rod. The mirror retention plate is engraved '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: 000-100-102-794-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1981.38
Date: Around 1850
c. 1850
Material: Brass. Inscription: Thos. Morton / KILMARNOCK
Dimensions: 527 mm L x 111 mm D
What: Telescope, reflecting
Subject: 22. PHYSICS, Light (Departmental Classification)
Who: Arthur Frank Collection of Scottish Scientific Instruments
Thomas Morton, Kilmarnock (Maker)
Where: Scotland, Ayrshire, Kilmarnock
Description: 14" focus Gregorian reflecting telescope in brass with speculum metal optics, 1" finder telescope and wooden tripod, 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 190-1,193,195 
  • T.N. Clarke, A.D. Morrison-Low and A.D.C. Simpson (1989): "Brass and Glass 
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