Edward Troughton

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Edward Troughton
Born October 1753
Died 12 June 1835
Occupation astronomical instrument maker
Awards Copley Medal

Edward Troughton FRS (October 1753 – 12 June 1835) was a British instrument maker who was notable for making telescopes and other astronomical instruments.[1]

Troughton was born at Corney, Cumberland. In 1779, after serving an apprenticeship with his elder brother John, he became his partner and soon established himself as the top maker of navigational, surveying and astronomical instruments in Britain.

In 1795 he delivered the Troughton Equatorial Telescope to the Armagh Observatory, a 2 inch aperture refractor telescope mounted equatorially, and its first major instrument since its founding in 1790 (It survived into the 21st century also). [2] He created the Groombridge Transit Circle in 1806, which Stephen Groombridge used to compile his star catalogue.[3] He did not merely build instruments, but designed and invented new ones.

Troughton was awarded the Copley Medal of the Royal Society in 1809. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in March 1810.[4]

In 1826, after John's death and in failing health himself, he took on William Simms as a partner and the firm became known as Troughton & Simms.

Troughton was involved in a lawsuit against Sir James South, who was dissatisfied with the quality of an equatorial mounting that Troughton made for him. Troughton sued for payment, and with informal legal counsel provided by Richard Sheepshanks, he prevailed.[5]

Troughton was color blind. On his death he was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.[6]

Groombridge transit circle 
Mendoza repeating circle, made circa 1810 by Edward Troughton, London. On display at the Musée national de la Marine, Paris. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Troughton biography". MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. 
  2. ^ "Armagh Observatory". 
  3. ^ "Groombridge Transit Circle, 1820.". 
  4. ^ "Lists of Royal Society Fellows 1660-2007" (PDF). London: The Royal Society. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "The South-Troughton quarrel". MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. 
  6. ^ Paths of Glory. Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery. 1997. p. 100. 

External links[edit]