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  • 85/1497 Crucibles (6), ceramic, used at Sydney Observatory workshop, maker unknown
  • 85/1498 Ladles (2), (metallurgists), iron, used at Sydney Observatory workshop, maker unknown, c 1950
  • 85/1499 Pit saw, steel blade, wooden handle, used at Sydney Observatory workshop, maker unknown, 1950-1960
  • 85/1500 Pitch-fork, (garden or hay), used at Sydney Observatory workshop, 1930-1950
  • Two rain gauge measuring cylinders.
    85/1913 Rain gauges (2), measuring cylinders, glass, made by Angelo Tornaghi, used at Sydney Observatory, New South Wales, Australia, 1861-1900
  • 85/1914 Sieve, cylindrical, copper, used at Sydney Observatory workshop, [Australia]
  • 85/1915 Funnel, conical, ceramic, size 6 (or 9), used at Sydney Observatory workshop, [1930-1950]
  • 85/1916 Mortar & pestle, ceramic, used at Sydney Observatory workshop, made in [England]
  • 85/1917 Cylinder, glass, graduated, used at Sydney Observatory
  • 85/1918 Cylinder, glass, graduated, stoppered, used at Sydney Observatory, Australia, 20th century
  • 85/1919 Measuring vessel, possibly rain gauge, glass with spout, used at Sydney Observatory
  • 85/1920 Tubing (2 pieces), chemical glassware, used at Sydney Observatory
  • 85/1921 Watch glasses (2), used at Sydney Observatory
  • 85/1922 Test tube, fused silica, used at Sydney Observatory
  • 85/1923 Tube, sealed glass, containing liquid, used at Sydney Observatory
  • 85/1924 Glass discharge tube, used at Sydney Observatory
  • 85/1925 Discharge tubes (3), glass, (containing powders), used at Sydney Observatory
  • 85/1926 Vessels (5), glass, handblown, used at Sydney Observatory
  • 85/1927 Filter flask, glass, used at Sydney Observatory, Crown, Australia
  • 85/1928 Boiling flasks (2), glass, used at Sydney Observatory
  • 85/1929 Funnel & filter chamber, porcelain/glass, used at Sydney Observatory, Buchner's, Japan/England
  • 85/1930 Roentgen tubes (2), X-ray, used at Sydney Observatory, Newton & Co, London, England


Carl Zeiss and optical glass




A collection of 40 optical instruments manufactured by Zeiss. The instruments include cameras, binoculars, telescopes, microscopes with various accessories and pamphlets.

In 1846 Carl Zeiss (1816-1888) started his instrument making business in the small town of Jena in Germany. He quickly became interested in optics and by 1848 was making and designing microscopes. In 1866 Zeiss realised that to expand his business he needed someone with a greater understanding of optics. Zeiss found the right person in Ernst Abbe (1840-1905) and by 1870 they had devised a new way for computing the manufacture of optical lenses which would improve performance by eradicating much of the colour and spherical distortion of the lens.

In 1879 they produced the homogenous immersion objective but the flint and crown glass which they used to make their lenses needed to be improved before they could perfect their lenses. Optical glass made from silica, soda and potash was supplied by manufacturers who used the same recipes for most of the 1800s. It was only after Zeiss and Abbe teamed up with the glassmaker Otto Schott in 1881 that they were able to produce a better quality glass without so much of the characteristic green or yellow tinges.

In 1886 Zeiss and Abbe produced the apochromatic (achromatic) microscope lens. Consisting of ten lenses it effectively removed secondary spectra distortion and spherical aberration. Using the new glass and Abbe's formulas the Zeiss factory began producing their famed anastigmatic photography lenses in 1890. It was around this time that the Zeiss works also began constructing eyepieces and objectives for telescopes.

No known copyright restrictions

By appointment, Powerhouse Museum


Binoculars; Cameras; Microscopes; Optical lenses; Scientific equipment

Optics; Photography

Coverage Spatial


Coverage Temporal




2012-10-03 11:35

2012-10-03 11:33