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H10066 Astrographic plate measuring machine, metal / glass / wood / plastic, made by Repsold and Son, Hamburg, Germany, used by Melbourne Observatory / Sydney Observatory, Melbourne, Victoria / Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1900-1902. Click to enlarge.

Astrographic plate measuring machine by Repsold and Son

Made
"The important place which photography has now assumed as a means of promoting astronomical discovery and research, demands some record should be preserved of the instruments, more especially of those used for carrying out the great work which was the outcome of the Congress of the world's astronomers which met at Paris, in 1887." H. C. Russell

In 1887 astronomers from around the world embarked a massive new enterprise; known as the Astrographic Catalogue project it involved photographing …

Summary

Object No.

H10066

Object Statement

Astrographic plate measuring machine, metal / glass / wood / plastic, made by Repsold and Son, Hamburg, Germany, used by Melbourne Observatory / Sydney Observatory, Melbourne, Victoria / Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1900-1902

Physical Description

Astrographic plate measuring machine, metal / glass / wood / plastic, made by Repsold and Son, Hamburg, Germany, used by Melbourne Observatory / Sydney Observatory, Melbourne, Victoria / Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1900-1902

An optical machine for measuring astronomical photographic plates. The plate measuring machine consists of a circular metal base on three legs that has been painted black. Attached to the circular base are two adjustable scaled frames into which photographic plates can be inserted. Attached beneath the base is a mirror. The mirror reflects light through a lens fixed into a circular hole in the centre of the base. A tripod, attached over the base, supports a micrometer and eyepiece. Accompanying the machine is a wooden stand. The stand has a circular hole in one side to fit the circular base of the plate machine. Also with the machine are two metal butterfly clips, an electrical lamp made from a tin, an illuminator with various components, four weights and additional components and attachments for the plate measuring machine.

Production

Made

Probably made

Notes

The German firm of Repsold and Son was one of the more important instrument making firms of the nineteenth century and was founded by Johann Georg Repsold around 1799. He, along with his two sons Georg (1804-1885) and Adolph (1793-1867), provided mountings for many of the Merz telescopes. In 1848 the Oxford Observatory installed a heliometer (sun telescope) made by Repsold reputed to be one of the best in the world at the time.

David Gill a pioneer in the art of stellar photography used a Merz heliometer telescope with mechanical parts made by Repsold in 1877 at Ascension Island and later at the Cape of Good Hope. This fact may have had some bearing on why Repsold's was contracted to make telescopes for Potsdam and Berlin which were also used in the Mapping the Stars project.

After over 100 years service the firm of Repsold and Sons was finally wound up in 1919

Geofff Barker, Assistant Curator, Total Asset Management Project, February 2008

References
Glass, I. S., Victorian Telescope Makers; the Lives and Letters of Thomas and Howard Grubb, Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol and Philadelphia, 1997
King, H., C., The History of the Telescope, Dover Publications, New York, 1955

History

Notes

The plate measuring machine was used at the Melbourne Observatory and the Sydney Observatory. It was used to measure the Melbourne Astrographic Catalogue plates.

Cite this Object

Harvard

Astrographic plate measuring machine by Repsold and Son 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 October 2021, <https://ma.as/230745>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/230745 |title=Astrographic plate measuring machine by Repsold and Son |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=27 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.