Elihu Thomson’s Quartz Telescope Mirror


Watch your back Edison..with over 700 patents, Elihu Thomson is a rival for the post of greatest inventor ever. His many engineering feats put the whiz in our washing machines and the zip in our car engines. But when it came to making the world’s biggest telescope, Thomson backed a losing horse. Thousands of man hours and thousands of dollars were wasted on attempts to make a telescope mirror out of quartz. Then the funders pulled the plug, and Thomson was forced to move onto other things – which he did, cheerfully. Too bad he’s not alive today to see his quartz telescope mirror come into its own; it has been used by some of the biggest  telescopes of all time to reveal the mysteries of the universe.   

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