Wednesday, 26 January 2022

The Cooke in Gibraltar

 

Colonel De Rottenburg wrote in a letter dated June 24th 1860 from Gibraltar. “ I observed a brilliant comet in the constellation of Auriga this evening, a line from beta through a Geminorum continued about three times their distance passed through its nucleus.

It was easily seen with the naked eye, the nucleus was a little less brilliant than Castor . Its altitude above the western horizon about equal to that of Venus at the same time.

I turned my 6 feet equatorial of 4.5 inches aperture made by Messrs Thomas Cooke & Sons of |York on the comet.

It has a bifid tail, very like that of the year 1846 as shown in Keith Johnsone’s 'Atlas of Astronomy' which is edited by Mr Hind. I used powers of 26, 50 and 100 on the comet; the nucleus has a very sensible disk. It bore the powers of 100 very well; one portion of the tail is much longer than the other, the south preceding being the longer.

With 100 power the nucleus was situated within the nebulosity, and the nebulosity was more arched and prominent on the south preceding part. It was first seen by a gentleman here on Saturday evening 23rd June.





Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Yet another Cooke for a Pub

 

Alfred Compton a publican from Barnsbury Terrace in London ordered from Thomas Cooke & Sons in 1864 an achromatic 3.75 inch telescope with a focal length of 4 feet. 

The telescope was being sent to the London shop at Southampton Street from where it would be collected.




Monday, 24 January 2022

The Astronomy Show

 

Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.



The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.


A Cooke eyepiece for James Cook

 

James Cook 1839-1919 was born in Lancaster and worked on his father’s farm. He became interested in astronomy and being well educated began the construction of reflecting telescopes up to the size of an 18 inch. He also made some small refractors.

In 1867 he purchased from Thomas Cooke & Son 3 eyepieces and a finder for one of his home made telescopes, I don’t know the size of telescope they would be used on.

He lived in Preston but in 1884 he travelled to New South Wales in Australia to become a mechanic at the Sydney University and produced many pieces of equipment for the physics laboratory at the university. He died in Sydney from pneumonia in 1919.




Sunday, 23 January 2022

Why not replace a Cooke with another Cooke

 

In 1865 Dr William Murray Dobie of Kings Buildings Chester purchased a 6inch Telescope from Thomas Cooke &Sons. This telescope cost £120

Dr Dobie was advertising for sale a 5.5 inch telescope that he had brought from Cookes in 1863. I have no idea why he was replacing this telescope as he described it as nearly new, it was only 2 years old and he described it as being of the first rate. He was selling this Cooke telescope for 65 guineas without its stand,





Saturday, 22 January 2022

Two Cookes go to London

 

Jonathan Crowley of Clarendon Road, London purchased in 1868, Telescope No. 31 with total reflection prism from Thomas Cooke & Sons. This was subsequently changed for a 4 inch telescope also from Thomas Cooke & Sons.




Friday, 21 January 2022

A Cooke for Gloucester

 

Another astronomer I have no information on is Jonathan Coulson of Gloucester who in 1867 brought Telescope No.59 from Thomas Cooke & Sons with pancratic day eyepiece, for £29 and 15 shillings.

However I don’t know why Cookes gave him a discount of £4 and 9 shillings. The carriage was paid I assume by Mr Coulson to Gloucester.




Thursday, 20 January 2022

A Cooke for a Pub

 

Alfred Compton a Publican from Barnsbury Terrace in London I don’t know what pub he ran ordered a 3.75 inch telescope from Thomas Cooke & Sons in 1864. The instrument had a focal length of 4 feet.

This particular instrument was made in York but sent down to the Cook & Sons shop in Southampton Street London to be collected.





Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Occultation of Aldebaran by the Moon observed from Manchester

 

On January 16th 1867, Mr Baxendell at Mr Worthington's observatory in Manchester observed the occultation of Aldebaran by the Moon. The star disappeared at 02 h 59m and 6 sec and reappeared at 4hr 10 min and 7 sec.

The disappearance and reappearance were both instantaneous, and no unusual phenomenon was observed. The telescope used was the equatorial mounted achromatic of 70 inch focal length and a 5 inch aperture with a power of 68. 

I don't know the maker of this particular telescope.






Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Another Cooke in Edinburgh

 

In 1867 Richard Collins of Capel’s Place, Leith Walk, Edinburgh purchased from Thomas Cooke & Sons a 3 inch object glass to go with the tube that had already been sent.

I have no further information regarding this telescope.




Monday, 17 January 2022

The Astronomy Show

 

Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.



The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.


A Cooke eyepiece in a Dollond

 

I came across James S Clarke of Derby who purchased an astronomical eyepiece from Thomas Cooke & Sons in 1868, after some research I discovered that he had a 5.25 inch Dollond, but he was using a Cooke & Sons eyepiece.




Sunday, 16 January 2022

A Cooke in Halifax?

 

In Halifax in 1856, J W Child of Copley Wood, Halifax purchased two astronomical eyepieces for the telescope that had been lately purchased. Unfortunately I don’t what size of telescope this was or indeed if it was a Cooke telescope. And as is often the case I have no further information regarding this astronomer.





Saturday, 15 January 2022

A Cooke with a Scottish / Italian connection

 

Louis Paschal Casella was born in Edinburgh, his family was Italian. In 1838 he moved to London and joined as co partner to Caesar Tagliabue at Hatton Gardens. By 1844 they were making philosophical instruments including telescopes. In 1856 they became instrument makers to the Admiralty.


In 1866 they ordered from Thomas Cooke & Sons Telescope No. 31 in a polished oak case. On the side was to be engraved in three lines L Casella / maker to the Admiralty / London. I am not sure why they could not complete this order themselves. Maybe they were too busy or perhaps the Cooke telescopes were of a superior quality.


This was not the first telescope that Casella ordered because in 1864 there was a 3.25 inch telescope and in 1865 a 3 inch telescope on a table stand.




Friday, 14 January 2022

A Cooke and a Carpet Dealer

 

It would appear that carpet sellers were also interested in astronomy.

In 1865 Thomas Carter of Carter and Mercer, carpet dealers of Ripon in Yorkshire purchased a 2.5 inch telescope plus 3 astronomical eyepieces together with a pancratic terrestrial eye piece and a sun cap.

I have no further information on Thomas Carter.




Thursday, 13 January 2022

Liverpool optical firm needed a Cooke mount

 

In Liverpool between 1851 and 1890 the optical company of Abraham & Co traded on Lord Street, Liverpool. In 1864 they ordered from Thomas Cooke & Sons a plain equatorial mounting on a tripod stand. This was for a 4.5 inch telescope.

As an instrument maker I don’t know why they could not provide a stand for this instrument, unless perhaps the buyer had asked for a Cooke mount.

The cost of this mount was £30 which today would be £4,000.




Wednesday, 12 January 2022

A Cooke and the Edinburgh Observatory

 

As promised here is a short blog on the 6 inch Thomas Cooke & Sons telescope in Edinburgh Observatory.

The formal opening of the Edinburgh Observatory took place on Monday 24th October 1898 with over 100 ladies and gentlemen present. The formal opening was performed by Lord Provost Mitchell Thomson. There had been an observatory in Edinburgh since 1811 but towards the end of the 19th century and with costs spiralling the observatory had been transferred from government control to the Edinburgh town council in 1896.

Although by the end of 1898 not everyone was so keen on astronomy in the city. The council report for the year said that out of the common good comes the expenses of running the observatory which had become a white elephant as it cost £419 a year to run. In 2022 prices this would be £58,000!!

The 6 inch Thomas Cooke & Sons telescope had been donated in I believe 1896 by William McEwan who was Member of Parliament for Edinburgh Central from 1886-1900.He was a member of the Liberal Party. He also founded the Fountain Brewery company later this would become Scottish & Newcastle Brewery.

The 6 inch would be housed in the central dome and would be operated by Mr William Peck, the city astronomer. He looked after the observatory until his death in 1925.

The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh ran the observatory from 1937 until 2009 when due to a lack of investment from the council it became impossible for an amateur society run to an observatory in what is a World Heritage Site.

However recently there has been some great news with the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh getting limited access to the 6 inch Cooke telescope and hopefully in the future being able to use it again and show the people of Edinburgh the wonders of the night sky.





Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Two Edinburgh Cookes

 

I was fortunate enough just before Christmas to be invited to present a zoom talk to the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh on the telescope maker Thomas Cooke of York. I plan to present a blog on this telescope in the near future. In the meantime I have come across another two Cooke telescopes in Edinburgh.

They were both purchased by Daniel Barton of Clarendon Cr. Edinburgh in 1865. Thomas Cooke & Sons described the first as telescope No.31, I do not know the size of the instrument which cost £45 that price today would be £6,000. He also purchased telescope No. 19 in a mahogany box for £16 at today’s price that would be £2,100.

I have no further information regarding Daniel Barton, I am no sure if his name has any historical reference in Edinburgh.




Monday, 10 January 2022

The Astronomy Show

 

Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.



The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.

A Cooke for a Baker

 

In 1866 the optical instrument makers of Charles Baker ,244, High Holburn, London ordered from Thomas Cooke & Sons a Barlow lens of power either 300 or 350. Also purchased was an astronomical eyepiece, unfortunately I don’t know the power.

The firm of Charles Barker had been formed in 1765 at the above address and they sold optical and surgical equipment. In the mid 1850s they were also selling not only telescopes but also microscopes and accessories.

The firm was acquired by Cooke Troughton and Simms in 1959.




Sunday, 9 January 2022

A Cooke in New Jersey

 

On January 9th 1889 Mr Read was elected President of the Astronomical Society of Cambden, New Jersey, USA. He had an observatory with a 5.5 inch Thomas Cooke of York telescope with a clockwork drive also supplied by Cooke.

This society would in 1927 become the Rittenhouse Astronomical Society named after David Rittenhouse (1732-1796) the first American astronomer.




Saturday, 8 January 2022

A Cooke in Liverpool

 

In 1865 George Mansfield Browne of Liverpool purchased equatorial No. 44 for £125 that is £16,700 in today's prices from Thomas Cooke & Sons. I don’t know the size of this telescope.

As you can see astronomy and buying telescopes were very much aimed at people who were well off. He also purchased a Terrestrial eyepiece for £1 15s .

I have no information at all about George Mansfield Browne. I don’t know if he had any connection with the Liverpool Astronomical Society?




Friday, 7 January 2022

A Cooke as a prize at Cambridge

 

In 1866 Rev Henry Boys of Jesus College, Cambridge purchased from Thomas Cooke & Sons Telescope No. 6, I am not sure of the size of the instrument but it came with a leather case and was being given as a prize.

The instrument came with 6 eyepieces, prism, dark glasses, micrometer &c, divisions on glass, clip to fix to window sill, any part not made from German Silver to be black.

About all I know regarding The Rev Boys is that he died in 1870, he had become a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1866 but there is no mention of him in the obituaries.




Thursday, 6 January 2022

A Cooke for Rotherham

 

In South Yorkshire, Jonathan Booth of Moorgate, Rotherham purchased a 4 inch educational telescope on a mounting with latitude adjustment. This telescope was purchased from Thomas Cooke & Sons in 1865.

As is often the case I unfortunately have no other information on Jonathan Booth or his telescope.




Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Another Church Cooke

 

Another clergyman the Rev T Bland of Leeds purchased a Thomas Cooke & Sons 3.25 inch telescope in January 1867. Together with the telescope he also purchased an astronomical eyepiece of either 220 or 240 power.

To date I have not been able to discover any astronomical observations by the Rev Bland, it is possible he was a member of the Leeds Astronomical Society.

I don’t know what church the Rev T Bland was rector at.






Tuesday, 4 January 2022

The Man who brought 2 Cookes, changed his name and was murdered

 Henry John Tuberville who was formerly known as Henry John Blackmore was something of an eccentric with a taste for science and in particular astronomy. He was the elder brother of Richard Doddridge Blackmore who wrote ‘Lorna Doone’

As Henry Blackmore in April 1865 he brought a 4.5 inch educational telescope from Thomas Cooke & Sons and in October 1866 as Henry Tuberville he brought a 5.5 inch telescope with a finder, 6 eyepieces, sun prism on an equatorial mounting, strong but as light as possible, on a stout polished mahogany stand. With both telescopes his address was the village of Pilton near Barnstable in Devon.

He changed his name in 1865 it appears due to some family issues, Tuberville was a Catholic family name and he appears to have changed his name with the aim of offending his Church of England relatives.

I cannot find as yet any evidence of any astronomical observations he made or whether he was a member of any astronomical societies in Devon. I also have no idea what happened to his two Cooke telescopes.

Henry Blackmore was born in Berkshire in 1824, his father John Blackmore would become the vicar of Ashford near Barnstable in Devon. In 1857 he inherited some money after an uncle died, and by the time of his death had amassed a fortune of £20,000 which today is worth £2.4 million.

In 1875 when he was 51 Henry Tuberville started to visit Yeovil in Somerset where he became engaged to Elizabeth Maggs who was 23 and the daughter of a chemist Thomas Maggs, He had made several wills the last in 1875 when he left everything to Thomas Maggs and his family. There were not surprisingly many objections to the will.

He was taken poorly on August 16th 1875 and as he was a chemist Thomas Maggs was called in to see him, he apparently had a great pain in his leg, the following day he died. The physician Dr. Allridge stated that Tuberville had taken potassium cyanide, although it was never decided how he got this poison. In the end a jury decided that in a state of unsound mind Tuberville had taken the potassium cyanide.

His brother Richard, believed that Henry had been murdered and tried to get the inquest re opened in this he failed. The mystery is still there today did he commit suicide or was he murdered?







Monday, 3 January 2022

The Astronomy Show

 

Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.




The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.




A Cooke in Tynemouth

 

I don’t know if anyone in the North East has ever heard of J Biggs of Tynemouth who in 1859 purchased a 3.25 inch telescope from Thomas Cooke & Sons. It had a 4 feet focal length with finder, eyepiece and prisms with a tripod with steadying rods. The cost was £36, today that would be £4,800.




Sunday, 2 January 2022

7th Moon of Jupiter discovered with Crossley Reflctor

 

On January 2nd 1905 C D Perrine using the 36 inch Crossley Reflector discovered the 7th moon of Jupiter which is now called Elara. The name Elara comes from one of the lovers of Zeus. The moon has a diameter of 79 km.


The 36 inch reflector had been owned by Edward Crossley of Halifax, Yorkshire who owned Crossley Carpets the largest carpet manufacturer in the world in the 19th century. He purchased it in the 1880s from A. A. Common of Ealing, London. Although it was at the time the largest reflector in England due to the poor observing conditions in the skies over Halifax which was due to the pollution from the many factories in Halifax it was impossible to use the telescope to its best.


In the mid 1890s he donated the telescope to the new Lick Observatory in California. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Crossley reflector at Lick proved to be a real trail blazing telescope leading in astronomical research in many different areas. It was also the largest reflector in America until the building of the 100 inch telescope at Mount Hamilton.




Saturday, 1 January 2022

Thomas Cooke & Sons and John Couch Adams

 

Thomas Cooke & Sons of York had a number of celebrated of customers. 

In 1859 John Couch Adams of the discovery of Neptune fame ordered a universal portable equatorial stand of best construction to carry a telescope of 3.5 inch aperture.

As far as I know the telescope was not a Cooke, but I do not have any further information regarding this telescope. Maybe if he had it in 1846 he could have looked for the planet we now call Neptune!!