From Earth-Bound to Satellite

Telescopes, Skills and Networks


The volume forms a part of the celebrations marking the anniversary of the invention of the telescope. From its Renaissance beginnings to yesterday’s Cold War, the essays contributed here throw a spotlight on a number of significant episodes in the continuing adventures of this well-loved instrument, which has played a crucial role in Man’s thinking about his position – literally and philosophically – in the universe. Drawn from various conferences held by the Scientific Instrument Commission of the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science between 2007 and 2009, these papers make a substantial contribution to our current knowledge about this fascinating optical instrument.
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Biographical Note

Alison D. Morrison-Low, D.Phil. (2000) in Economic History with Physics, University of York, Principal Curator of Science at National Museums Scotland since 1980. Her recent publications explore the English instrument trade, for which she won the 2008 Paul Bunge Prize.

Sven Dupré, Ph.D. (2002) in Philosophy, Ghent University,is Research Group Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and Professor of History of Knowledge at the Free University of Berlin. His recent publications focus on the history of optics and the telescope.

Stephen Johnston, Ph.D. (1994) in History of Science, University of Cambridge, is Assistant Keeper at the Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford. His publications focus on instruments and practical mathematics from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

Giorgio Strano, Ph.D. (2003) in History of Science, University of Florence, is Curator of the Collections at Museo Galileo in Florence. He has published extensively on the history of astronomy, including "Galileo's Telescope" (2008).

" From Earth-Bound to Satellite is a superb and richly illustrated collection of essays on the history of the telescope [...] Perhaps the greatest strength of the book lies in its fifteen authors and editors eing such well-known scholars of the history of scientific instruments."
– Alexi Baker, University of Cambridge, in: The British Journal for the History of Science 47, pp 181-182

"The many subjects in this volume and their span over space and time will attract a broad and appreciative audience of historians."
– Patrick J. Boner, Johns Hopkins University, in: Renaissance Quarterly 65/4 (Winter 2012), pp. 1232-1233

List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

Foreword, Alison D. Morrison-Low

Introduction: Writing the History of the Telescope: Makers, Markets and Mapping, Sven Dupré

Galileo’s Shopping List: An Overlooked Document about Early Telescope Making, Giorgio Strano

Johann Wiesel’s Telescopes and his Clientele, Inge Keil

The ‘Invisible Technician’ Made Visible: Telescope Making in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth-century Dutch Republic, Huib J. Zuidervaart

The Art of Polishing: Practice and Prose in Eighteenth-century Telescope Making, Jim A. Bennett

Networks of Telescope Makers and the Evolution of Skill: Evidence from Observatory and Museum Collections, Gloria C. Clifton

Scoping Longitude: Optical Designs for Navigation at Sea, Richard Dunn

Following the Stars: Clockwork for Telescopes in the Nineteenth Century, James Caplan

Telescopes Made in Berlin: From Carl Bamberg to Askania, Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Wide-Field Photographic Telescopes: The Yale, Harvard and Harvard/Smithsonian Meteor and Satellite Camera Networks, Teasel Muir-Harmony, David H. DeVorkin, Peter Abrahams

The Making of Space Astronomy: A Gift of the Cold War, Robert W. Smith


All those interested in the history of science and technology, the history of scientific instruments, the history of astronomy from the 17th to the 20th centuries, and institutional and social history.