White enamel glass mirror by William Herschel, 1780-1800

Made:
1780-1800 in Slough
maker:
William Herschel

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Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Six and a half inch concave mirror of enamel (white glass or Tassies compound) prescribed at back:- "no.8, 7 feet enamel mirror (F)" in cardboard round box ("Pl ) with lid, exact focal length 7ft, 3.25 in

The astronomer William Herschel constructed his own reflecting telescopes using mirrors made of speculum metal. A bronze alloy with arsenic added for a more lustrous finish, the hard metal was very brittle, difficult to polish and tarnished quickly. To avoid these shortcomings, Herschel experimented with trying to produce mirrors from glass. The mirror shown here is made of a white enamel glass, known as Tassie's compound. First used in London by James Tassie in the 1760s, the moulded material was polished to made cameo glasses. Although this 6 ½-inch concave mirror has been fully polished, its low reflectivity made it unsuitable for use in an astronomical telescope.

Details

Category:
Astronomy
Object Number:
1925-462
Materials:
cardboard, enamel
type:
concave mirrors
taxonomy:
  • disciplines
  • disciplines
  • science
  • natural sciences
  • physical sciences
credit:
Mr John Herschel-Shorland
status:
Permanent collection

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