image MM_12_66
Image number: RS.9288
Credit: © The Royal Society
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Design sketch for the Great Melbourne Telescope


15 December 1852


James Nasmyth (1808-1890, British), Engineer

Object type

Archive reference number



height (drawing): 175mm
width (drawing): 196mm


Content object


Rough elevation of an equatorially-mounted reflecting telescope supported by a cast iron frame. An observer is shown seated on a platform at the top of the tube. The sketch is part of a letter written from Nasmyth’s Bridgewater Foundry at Patricroft, Manchester to the Earl of Rosse, discussing design ideas for the “Great [Melbourne] Telescope”. With a pencil inscription upper left “wood cut width to size of paper”.

Supporting text reads: “The above rude sketch is somewhat like the way in which it appears to me such an instrument should be mounted – the Polar axis being a strong frame of cast iron between the sides of which the telescope tube swings. The observer in his snug box slung to the eye piece socket, so as to sit always on a horizontal seat whatever may be the position of the instrument...”.

Object history

This original version of Nasmyth’s design was reproduced in Correspondence concerning the Great Melbourne Telescope. In three parts: 1852-1870 (London, Royal Society, 1871), part I, p.2 but proved an unsuccessful design proposal.

Associated place

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