Thomas Cooke (machinist)

Thomas Cooke (machinist)

"This page is about the instrument maker. For other persons named Thomas Cooke, see Thomas Cooke"

Thomas Cooke (March 8, 1807 – October 19, 1868) was a British instrument maker based on York. He founded T. Cooke & Sons, the instrument company

Life

to increase his income.

His marriage to Hannah was to produce seven children, five of whom were boys, Two of these Charles Frederick (1836 - 98) and Thomas (1839 - 1919) subsequently joined him in the business he founded in 1836 at 50 Stonegate, close to York Minster with the assistance of a loan of £100 from his wife’s uncle.

Cooke studied optics and became interested in making telescopes, the first of which was a refracting telescope with the base of a tumbler shaped to form its lens. This led to his friends including John Phillips encouraging him to make telescopes and other optical devices commercially. [cite book
last = Feinstein (Editor)
first = C. H.
title = York 1831-1981:150 Years of Scientific Endeavour and Social Change
origyear = 1981
publisher = The Ebor Press
isbn = 0-900657-56-1
P38
] [cite book
last = Willis
first = Ronald
title = The illustrated portrait of York
origyear = 1972
edition = 4th Ed.
year = 1988
publisher = Robert Hale Limited
isbn = 0-7090-3468-7
P184
] [cite book
last = McConnell
first = Anita
title = Instrument makers to the world, A history of Cooke, Troughton and Simms
origyear = 1992
edition = 1st Ed.
year = 1992
publisher = University of York
isbn = 1-85072-096-7
P50
]

Work

In 1837 he established his first optical business in a small shop at 50 Stonegate, York, and later moved to larger premises in Coney Street. He built his first telescope for William Gray. At that time, the excise tax on glass discouraged the making of refracting telescopes, which were usually imported from abroad. Cooke was thus one of the pioneers of making such telescopes in Britain.

He made more instruments and built his reputation. He was not only an optician but had mechanical abilities as well, and among other things, manufactured turret clocks for church towers. He founded the firm T. Cooke & Sons. In 1855 he moved to bigger premises, the Buckingham Works at Bishophill in York, where factory methods of production were first applied to optical instruments. [cite book
last = Feinsten (Editor)
first = C. H.
title = York 1831-1981:150 Years of Scientific Endeavour and Social Change
origyear = 1981
publisher = The Ebor Press
isbn = 0-900657-56-1
P39
]

One of his finest achievements was the construction of the 25 inch 'Newall' refractor for Robert Stirling Newall; sadly, Thomas died before seeing it completed. For some years the Newall was the largest refracting telescope in the world. On Newall's death it was donated to Cambridge University and finally moved in 1959 to Mount Penteli observatory in Greece. He made a telescope for the Royal Observatory, also Greenwich and another for Prince Albert. The firm amalgamated with Troughton & Simms (London) to become Cooke, Troughton & Simms in 1922 and this later became part of Vickers, but still run by his sons Thomas & Frederick.

Thomas Cooke was succeeded by his sons, Thomas and Frederick. He is buried in York Cemetery.

Telescopes in use today

A telescope made by Thomas Cooke is still in daily use at Carter Observatory - The National Observatory of New Zealand, delivering excellent results.

At the observatory in the Museum Gardens, York there is a working 4.5" telescope, built for the Yorkshire Philosophical Society in 1850. A second unit of the same construction was purchased and installed in the observatory at Bootham School, York in 1854. A third matching instrument, dating from the same period, was donated to Friendsʼ School, Hobart in 1974 by the grandson of Jonathan Backhouse Hodgkin. All three instruments remain in active service.

A 5" refractor dating from 1883 is still in use at Coats Observatory, Paisley, Scotland .

There is a 6" Cooke telescope in the Airdrie Public Observatory, Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland run by ASTRA.

ee also

*List of astronomical instrument makers

References

External links

* [http://adsabs.harvard.edu//full/seri/MNRAS/0029//0000130.000.html MNRAS 29 (1869) 130–135]
* [http://www.carterobs.ac.nz/index.php Carter - National Observatory of New Zealand]

Persondata
NAME= Cooke, Thomas
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION=British instrument maker
DATE OF BIRTH=March 8, 1807
PLACE OF BIRTH=Allerthorpe, near Pocklington, East Riding of Yorkshire, Yorkshire, England
DATE OF DEATH=October 19, 1868
PLACE OF DEATH=


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