Non-Fiction

Brass and Glass
Optical Instruments and their Makers
***Available now in paperback ***

Brass and Glass: Optical Instruments and their Makers is an encyclopaedia of optical instruments, and the individuals and companies, both historical and contemporary, who have made them. It contains over 2000 alphabetical entries, including:
Optical instrument makers and brands
Telescopes
Binoculars
Microscopes
Cameras
Navigation instruments
Surveying instruments
Military optical ordnance
Laboratory & educational instruments
Optical terminology

There are appendices containing information on selected related subjects such as optical glass and eyepiece designs.

The inspiration for the book came from my interests in stargazing, photography, microscopy and bird-watching. These involve using telescopes, microscopes, binoculars and cameras, and soon I began to take an interest in classic and vintage optical instruments. I found the lack of reference material frustrating - I would see an interesting looking vintage telescope at auction, but to find out more about the maker I would have to buy extraordinarily expensive reference books, many of which are out of print. Further, the information I sought was frequently scattered around multiple sources, and time-consuming to collate. I wanted an affordable, simple, encyclopaedic reference in which I could find the name of the maker or optical instrument and a concise, but informative article about them. This book is my attempt to remedy that gap in the literature.

Since the invention of the telescope and the microscope in the early seventeenth cetury there have been countless makers of optical instruments. It would be impossible to include an entry for every one of them. However, most makers the general reader will encounter are currently included, and new entries will be added in future editions.

A draft table of contents for the first edition may be found here (opens in a new tab).
Much of the content of Brass and Glass: Optical Instruments and their Makers relates to instrument makers or organisations of the past. However, many are still in business, or have been absorbed into other businesses which are still trading. A list of current websites of, or relating to some of the companies and organisations which appear in the book may be found here (opens in a new tab).

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