1858 - Ireland is home to the Grubbs, one of the world’s leading optical instrument makers

Thomas Grubb , 1800-1878, and his son Sir Howard Grubb, 1844-1931, were Irish engineers who manufactured many optical and metal devices, particularly in the field of astronomical instruments. Thomas was a keen photographer and a founder of the Dublin Photographic Society in 1854.

In 1858 Thomas obtained a patent for a new lens design called an Aplanatic which was designed largely for landscape work. It was sold in Ireland and other countries, often through agents. The lenses were of superb quality and were used for significant work in the 1860s by the likes of Carleton Watkins in Yosemite USA and Samuel Bourne in the Himalayas.

After the late 1860s the Grubbs turned towards astronomical instruments, but the firm was still producing some camera lenses in a variety of designs, as late as the 1880s.

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