Grubb, Thomas

Thomas Grubb (1800-1878)

Thomas Grubb (1800-1878), maker of scientific instruments, was born in Waterford in 1800. In the 1830s he set up an engineering works in Dublin at Charlemont Bridge near the Grand Canal and built for himself a small observatory. The Rev. T.R. Robinson suggested that Grubb should mount the 13.5 inch lens owned by E.J. Cooper of Markree and he ordered a 15 inch reflector for Armagh Observatory. Grubb invented a novel lever support system for the primary mirror of the Armagh reflector; this was later adopted in Lord Rosse's Leviathan. Grubb constructed precision instruments for Trinity College and twenty sets of magnetometers for a global network of magnetic observatories.

About 1840 Thomas Grubb became 'Engineer to the Bank of Ireland' where he was responsible for designing and constructing machinery for engraving, printing and numbering banknotes. When Grubb received an order to build a 48-inch reflector for Melbourne Observatory, he and his son Howard set up a new works in Rathmines at Observatory Lane. The firm prospered and built some of the world's greatest telescopes, many of which are still in operation.

Grubb was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1839 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1864.

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