Universal equatorial instrument

< 1401 of 1423 > Back

probably made in Edinburgh

Postcard of Universal equatorial instrument.
© National Museums Scotland

Universal equatorial instrument

This brass universal equatorial instrument, a 'portable observatory', was made around 1790, probably by John Miller, a scientific instrument maker based in Edinburgh. It was built to the general design of George Adams, the younger.

This portable instrument would have been used by a serious amateur astronomer to make positional measurements of notable objects. A refracting telescope is supported on a series of four arcs, giving measurements to an apparently high degree of accuracy.

In the 1760s, John Miller probably spent some time in the workshop of George Adams, the elder, whose son's books, helped to popularise the 'portable observatory'. The flimsy mounting, however, could not be used for serious astronomical work.

Record details

To search on related items, click any linked text below.

Online ID: 000-100-102-837-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1988.25
Date: Around 1790
c. 1790
Material: Brass
Dimensions: 185 mm x 130 mm x 235 mm
What: Universal equatorial instrument / portable observatory
Who: George Adams (Designer)
George Adams, the younger (Designer)
John Miller, Edinburgh (Maker)
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Description: Universal equatorial instrument in brass, made to the general design of George Adams, by John Miller of Edinburgh, c. 1790
  • 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. p 29 
  • For a general discussion of the portable observatory, see Bennett, J.A. The Divided Circle: A history of instruments for astronomy, navigation and surveying. Oxford: 1987. pp 123-5 
Related Records:
< 1401 of 1423 > Back
Powered by Scran