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probably made in London

Postcard of Telescope.
© National Museums Scotland


This telescope was made between 1761 and 1766, probably by Peter Dollond (1731-1820), a scientific instrument maker based in London.

The single draw, 1-inch refracting telescope (the size of the diameter of the objective lens) has a mahogany tube with brass bound ends. The draw is marked 'P. DOLLOND/ Strand/ LONDON'. The telescope uses a combination of crown and flint glass for the objective lens, which corrects chromatic aberration (colour fringes in the image). The eyepiece is made of five components.

In 1758, Dollond's father, John, a Spitalfields weaver, patented his achromatic doublet lens. In 1765, a further improvement was made by Dollond himself using a double-concave flint glass cemented to two double convex lenses of crown glass. However, the patent was disputed by other London optical instrument makers, although not very successfully.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-234-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1967.137
Date: 1761 - 1766
Between 1761 and 1766
Material: Mahogany tube, brass bound ends, brass draw. Inscription: P DOLLOND / Strand / LONDON
Dimensions: 37.06" L; 1.38" aperture
What: Telescope, single draw
Subject: 3. ASTRONOMY, Refracting telescopes (Departmental Classification)
22. PHYSICS, Light (Departmental Classification)
Who: P. Dollond, Strand, London (Maker)
Where: England, London
Description: Single draw telescope made between 1761 and 1766 and signed by P. Dollond of London
  • For Peter Dollond, see Clifton, Gloria, Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851. London: 1995, p 87 
  • For the invention of the achromatic telescope, see King, Henry C., The History of the Telescope. New York: 1955, chapter 8, pp 144-75 
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