The invention of modern telescope by Léon Foucault – Warren De La Rue’s copy

The invention of modern telescope by Léon Foucault – Warren De La Rue’s copy




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Categories: Bookshop, Telescopes, Scientific Books, Monoculars, Telescopes - Other


FOUCAULT (Léon), Mémoire sur la construction des télescopes en verre argenté (excerpted from vol. V of Annales de l’observatoire impérial de Paris), Paris, Mallet-Bachelier, 1859.

Large 4to, (2), 41, (1) pages and one folding plate ; contemporary brown cardboard.



Very rare offprint of Léon Foucault’s key publication for the development of the modern telescope, in which he describes his invention of the silvered-glass reflector in 1856-1859.

“The modern telescope takes its final form when Léon Foucault replaces the bronze mirrors for silver glass mirrors ; having issues in terms of rapid oxidation and a low luminosity power in reflection. The Observatory of Paris keeps one of the first models of its telescopes, used notably for the first test of photographic images taken of the Moon by Charles Wolf (1827-1918).” (see the online exhibition “The refracting and the reflecting telescopes” by the Observatoire de Paris).

Pasted inside the first board, engraved bookplate of Warren De La Rue, a pioneering British astronomer in astronomical photography.

“His achievements include improvements to the figuring of mirrors, the construction of a superb equatorial reflector and photoheliograph, detailed observations of the Sun, Moon and planets, photography of the Moon and of solar prominences, an extended series of photographic observations of the Sun over a solar cycle, and support others engaged in the science of astronomy. He achieved all this while making innovations to mechanical systems, carrying out chemical and electrical research, and running a major company” (David Le Conte, “Warren De La Rue – Pioneer astronomical photographer” in Antiquarian Astronomer, 2011, issue 5, pp. 14-35).

Despite a small tear to the inner margin of the plate, without loss, a good copy in its original condition.

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FR Le Zograscope

Established by Alexandre Piffault in 2014 and based in Paris at 5 rue de Condé, 75006, very close to Odéon, Le Zograscope specializes in antique and rare books in Science, Medicine and Technology, and rare antique instruments in the same fields. We have especially a strong interest in early and continental microscopy, early and special mathematical/drawing instruments, medical and surgical instrument, and rare technology.

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