T. Cooke & Sons

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T. Cooke & Sons was an English instrument-making firm, headquartered in York. It was founded by Thomas Cooke by 1837.[1]


The Fry 8-inch-aperture refracting telescope, manufactured by Thomas Cooke in the 1860s, at the University of London Observatory.

By 1855 Thomas Cooke had built a factory at Bishophill in York.[2][3]

The firm built the clock face on the Darlington clock tower.[4]

Following the death of Cooke in 1868, the business was continued by his sons.[3][5]

In 1914, a new factory was built in Bishophill.[5] In 1915 Vickers acquired a controlling stake in the company.[2]

In 1922 Vickers merged it with Troughton & Simms to form Cooke, Troughton & Simms.[6]

In 1924 the company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Vickers.[2] In 1939 another factory was built on a larger site in Haxby Road and during the Second World War, the company employed 3,300 people.[2]

In 1963 the company was renamed Vickers Instruments.[2]

In 1989 the company was sold to Bio-Rad Micromeasurements, apart from the defence products, which were sold to British Aerospace.[2]

The Haxby Road site was demolished in 2008.[2]


  1. ^ Taylor, E. Wilfred; Wilson, J. Simms; Maxwell, P. D. Scott. At the Sign of the Orrery: The Origins of the Firm of Cooke, Troughton and Simms, Ltd. (Not dated, no publisher given.)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Vickers Instruments - Borthwick Institute for Archives, The University of York
  3. ^ a b Pritchard, Charles (1868). "Thomas Cooke". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. London: Royal Astronomical Society. 29: 130–135. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2016-02-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ a b Focus falls on Vickers Instruments (From York Press)
  6. ^ "Notes". The Observatory. 45: 403. 1922. Retrieved 15 November 2015. (About the merger with Troughton & Simms.)