SH Archive 1893-ish Yerkes Telescope: Largest Refracting Telescope Ever OP Username
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2019-08-28 18:00:26 Reaction Score
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Sep 8, 2020
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All I was trying to do was read the 1893 book that Korben linked to in this thread:

1893: 100 MPH High Speed Electric Train

But then I read something like this on the first page:


Being that we're in 1893, it immediately makes me think that it's the telescope at the Chicago Columbian Exposition. And it appears to be. Let's wiki a little bit, first Charles Yerkes:

Charles Yerkes - Wikipedia

I think he probably warrants more study, but there are too many threads here. Staying with the main topic the Yerkes Observatory, the place where the telescope ended up:

Yerkes Observatory - Wikipedia

So, the telescope was basically just a shell at the expo. Right?


The Yerkes Telescope, Great Revealer of the Solar System - Chicago's 1893 World's Fair

Yerkes Observatory Dedication -- October 21, 1897 | Connecting the Windy City

So, some problems here. Let's look at one of the companies cited with the production of the telescope, Alvin Clark & Sons:

Alvan Clark & Sons - Wikipedia

American company making telescopes for Russia in the 19th century. What a history of cooperation in the skies! What happened to the lens that Hale found. Hale, by the way:

George Ellery Hale - Wikipedia

Don't worry, if you read this, you'll see that he didn't really see an elf, it was a little demon. A metaphorical one. Probably.

2000JHA....31...93S Page 93

The company that is credited with the mounting and tube, Warner & Swasey:

WARNER & SWASEY CO. | Encyclopedia of Cleveland History | Case Western Reserve University

A couple more things about the telescope:

Yerkes Telescope

The 40-inch.

Getting murkier...

So, after the expo, the telescope was relocated to the newly built Yerkes Observatory:



Just the facts, Ma'am.


A World's Fair Moment: The Star that Connected 1893 and 1933

The architect, Henry Ives Cobb:






Henry Ives Cobb’s Yerkes Observatory (1897) features whimsical decorative detail reminiscent of his earlier Fisheries Building at the 1893 World’s Fair.

Yerkes Observatory Faces Uncertain Future - Chicago's 1893 World's Fair

This video from 2017 below has some more details on the telescope.

Astronomer Dan Koehler talking about different eyepieces at 5:10:

And it might be several decades before anyone uses it again.

Yerkes Observatory heirs reported slowing down the next move

And now there's some kind of a legal battle going on, with the Yerkes family being involved. Just a mess.

So, when exactly was this telescope put all together? Is it possible it was functional for the 1893 Expo? What happened to subsequent attempts to build larger ones (which, if you read through the linked document on Hale's elf, he had plans to construct a 60 inch one that seems to have fallen through)?



Another closed observatory, the one named after our telescope manufacturers, Warner & Swasey, Just thought it looked cool.

abandoned observatory in east cleveland ohio

Abandoned Observatory in East Cleveland Ohio
The Incredible Ruins of an Abandoned Observatory
Note: This OP was recovered from the Wayback Archive.

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