Down near the Charles River
, a person about to cross the old Brookline bridge spies through the trees what looks like an astronomical dome.
Old citizens of Cambridge
regard it with pride, and speak of it as “Clark
It marks the site of the world-renowned telescope factory of Alvan Clark
The story of its beginning is romantic.
If Alvan Clark
was known in early life as a successful miniature painter.
His son, George B. Clark
, became a student at Phillips Academy, Andover
The dinner bell broke.
and the boy obtained the fragments.
Taking them home, he melted down the metal over the kitchen fire, with the avowed intention of making a telescope.
His father found out what he was doing, and was glad to give him a helping hand.
The two succeeded in making a good reflecting telescope.
They became so much interested in the work, that they made other reflectors together, and attained considerable skill.
Then it occurred to them to try to make lenses for a refracting telescope.
There was no firm, in this country or in England
, which undertook to grind astronomical lenses.
The twin fifteen-inch telescopes at Harvard
and Pulkowa Observatories, then the largest in the world, had been made in Germany
, and it was hardly expected that they would be surpassed.
The grinding even of small