A 6 inch telescope made by Sir Howard Grubb.

Made by Sir Howard Grubb and Sons Ltd in Dublin, Ireland, 1880-1882.

There are two main types of telescopes. One uses a curved reflecting mirror to capture an image of the celestial bodies. The other uses a refracting lens to magnify the image.

This 6-inch refracting telescope was made by Sir Howard Grubb of Dublin. It was ordered to observe the Transit of Venus that was expected in December 1882, and it was shipped out of Dublin around July 1882. Unfortunately there were problems with Australian customs and it sat on the dock rather than being used to observe ...


Telescope, 6-inch equatorial refractor telescope, iron / brass / glass, made by Sir Howard Grubb, Dublin, Ireland, 1880-1882, used at north dome Sydney Observatory, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

A 6 inch equatorial refractor telescope consisting of a telescope and drive unit that attaches to a cast iron stand. The stand breaks down into three pieces. Other components that make up the telescope include a cast iron weight, two electrical cords with switches, a pulley, a crank handle and brass spacer and a trouble light.

Observatory Stock number 1.


Thomas Grubb entered the scientific instrument business in the 1830s and quickly made a name for himself constructing telescopes. Largely self-taught, he ran his firm from Charlemont Bridge in Dublin where he developed both his mechanical and optical skills. As the market for telescopes was fairly limited, it is likely Grubb made most of his money from his appointment as Engineer to the Bank of England and from his patented cheap lenses.

The commission for the huge 48-inch reflector in Melbourne led Grubb to set up a separate workshop at Rathmines, Ireland. This workshop was developed by his son Howard Grubb after the retirement of his father in 1870.

In the later part of the nineteenth century contracts for large telescopes began to dry up and Howard Grubb shifted the focus of the business to military optics. The company moved its operation to St Albans in 1920 and in 1925 was acquired by Sir Charles Parsons. It was renamed Sir Howard Grubb Parsons and Co Ltd (known as Grubb Parsons) and based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This company built optical components for a number of telescopes including the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring near Coonabarabran.

Geoff Barker, August, 2007

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
Sir Howard Grubb and Sons Ltd 1880-1882


Source unknown
3 June, 1983

Cite this Object

A 6 inch telescope made by Sir Howard Grubb. 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 November 2017, <https://ma.as/258732>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/258732 |title=A 6 inch telescope made by Sir Howard Grubb. |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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