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Thomas Grubb

Thomas Grubb (1800 – 1878), born probably near Portlaw, Co. Waterford, Ireland, was an optician and founder of the Grubb Telescope Company. He started out in 1830 in Dublin as a metal billiard-table manufacturer. He diversified into making telescopes and erected a public observatory near his factory at No. 1 Upper Charlemont Street, Portobello, Dublin. As makers of some of the largest and best-known telescopes of the Victorian era, the company was at the forefront of optical and mechanical engineering.[1] His innovations for large telescopes included clock-driven polar mounts, whiffletree mirror mounting cells and Cassegrain reflector optics.[2]

Grubb helped build the famous telescope for William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, at Birr, County Offaly, Ireland. One of his earliest instruments - the telescope for Markree Observatory in County Sligo in the West of Ireland, supplied in 1834 - was, for several years, the largest telescope in the world. It was used to sketch Halley's comet in 1835 and to view the solar eclipse of 15 May 1836.[3]

Later he built telescopes for observatories worldwide, including Aldershot Observatory, Melbourne, Vienna, Madrid and Mecca and others.[4]

He died in 1878 and is buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin, Ireland.


  1. ^ Glass, I.S. (1997). Victorian Telescope Makers: The Lives and Letters of Thomas and Howard Grubb. Institute of Physics Publishing (Taylor and Francis). ISBN 0750304545.  
  2. ^ A Short History of Armagh Observatory
  3. ^ History of the Cauchoix objective
  4. ^ Todd, David Peck; Lynn, William Thynne (1899). Stars and Telescopes. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.  


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