Micro-telescope, 'Davon', with case and accessories, metal / wood / glass, made by F Davidson and Company, London, England, 1914-1930, used by Sydney Observatory, New South Wales, Australia, [1900-1940]
F Davidson & Co sold the 'Davon' micro-telescope mainly for use as a photographic device with an included apparatus for taking photographs through the microscope. The device can also be used as a low powered telescope and comes with adapters that can be inserted into the socket under the stage of the microscope. As the accompanying telescopes are not very powerful the device was popular for terrestrial use and only minor astronomical use. The micro-telescope also comes with an attachment to allow the user to observe and measure photographic plates under the microscope, which was probably its primary use at Sydney Observatory in the early 1900s.
Sydney Observatory began producing astronomical photographs from the late 1800s. Government Astronomer Henry C Russell conducted numerous experiments with astronomical photographic equipment, presenting some of his earliest photographs to the Royal Society in 1890. The scientific instruments associated with taking astronomical photographs held an important place at the Observatory. In 1887 Russell commented that "the important place which photography has now assumed as a means of promoting astronomical discovery and research, demands some record should be preserved of the instruments". Much of the photographic work done at Sydney Observatory assisted in completing the Astrographic Catalogue (Mapping the Stars) project. This world-wide project involved photographing and measuring the stars in both hemispheres.
This Davon micro-telescope with plate reading attachments remains of national significance due to its pioneering role in Australian science and its association with Australia's earliest astronomers. It is also of international significance due to its association with nineteenth century scientific instruments and their makers.
Russell, H C, Description of the Star Camera at The Sydney Observatory, Alfred James Kent, Government Printer, 1923, p.4
Written by Erika Dicker
Assistant Curator, February 2008.
The micro-telescope was made by F Davidson and Company in London, England. F Davidson and Company were makers of scientific instruments in the 19th century. They patented the 'Davon micro-telescope' in the early 1900s. They were recorded at the address; 29 Great Portland St, London, England.
This micro-telescope was used at Sydney Observatory, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, as a photographic plate reader in the early 1900s.