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probably made in Edinburgh

Postcard of Telescope.
© National Museums Scotland


This reflecting telescope was made in 1735, probably by James Short (1710-68), a scientific instrument maker based in Edinburgh.

The 18-inch focus, three-inch aperture telescope has two alternative optics and is mounted on a brass tripod stand. Its simple mounting is of little use for serious astronomical work, but perfectly adequate for casual amateur observations.

James Short attended courses given by Colin Maclaurin, Professor of Mathematics at Edinburgh University. Through the patronage of Maclaurin and the Earl of Morton, the young Short was able to sell his telescopes to a growing number of customers.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-654-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1893.452
Date: 1735
Material: Speculum metal and brass tripod stand
Dimensions: 26.00" L
What: Telescope, gregorian
Subject: 3. ASTRONOMY, Reflecting telescopes (Departmental Classification)
22. PHYSICS, Light (Departmental Classification)
Who: Gregory (Eponym)
James Short, Edinburgh (Maker)
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Description: Gregorian telescope having a metallic speculum of parabolic figure and two eye pieces, made by James Short of Edinburgh in 1735, on a brass tripod stand
  • Bryden, D. J., James Short and his Telescope. Edinburgh: 1968, pp 14-5 
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