JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Shorpy members who are Patreon contributors now get an ad-free experience! (Mostly -- there's still an ad above the comments.) Click here for details or to sign up.

Naval Gazer: 1924

Naval Gazer: 1924

August 18, 1924. "Prof. Hall of Naval Observatory with 26-inch telescope." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5


nds, nice observation on the control knobs!

People don't realize how big these refractor 'scopes are. Think about it: A glass objective lens 26" in diameter. Insanely expensive to make. Also very heavy (I'm guessing the weight of the objective lens for this telescope is 80-100kg). Finally, the optical tube assembly has to be really long. The largest refractor ever made was 40", and this 26" unit was the largest in the world when it was made.

That's why they fell out of favor over (mirror-based) reflector telescopes. But for pure mechanical and technical coolness, the old refractors are the best.

Plus, you get to look straight through it, like a "real" telescope (and unlike a reflector).

$125,000 for the telescope

$3.95 for the chair.

Astronomy Legacy

This is Asaph Hall, Jr. (1859–1930). He worked at the Naval Academy on several occasions during his career. He was about 64 when this picture was taken, five years before he retired and six years before his passing.

His father, Asaph Hall III (1829 – 1907), was responsible for the USNO getting this 26-inch telescope. He later found the two moons of Mars with it.

Low Tech

You'd think that somebody could have found a more appropriate viewing chair!


It is devices like this that prompt Martians to keep their shades drawn.

Astronomer's hat

Should be pointy with stars/moons/comets/etc. on it.

The knobs

Note how each of the adjustment wheels has knobs of a different shape (stripes, flats), to identify them by feel.

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Site © 2020 Shorpy Inc.