Site description:

home This site contains photographs and descriptions of instruments that display a high degree of aesthetic in their design, and an overall excellence in their performance. These machines reflect the high points of analog systems, and cover areas in science, exploration, astronomy, communication, measurement, and sports (even scientists have to play).

One example of such an instrument would be the compound light microscope. The microscope, after the improvement offered by the innovation of the achromatic lens in the first half of the 19th century, has extended the depth of human vision, and allowed for innumerable discoveries in medicine and science. The machine, itself, had an elegance about it almost from the beginning. It consists of one of the most complex optical designs of any optical instrument, and reached several pinnacles of perfection from the stately brass machines of the 19th century to the celebrations of discovery reflected in the art deco designs of the mid-20th century.

Telescopes enjoyed a similar history, but at an opposite end of the optical spectrum -- the macrocosm as opposed to the microcosm.  

Globes and maps were also viewed as scientific instruments, and were often made and sold by the same tradespeople.  Compasses, dials, barometers -- all contributed to the exploration of the world and the expansion of human knowledge.  Today, we are somewhat spoiled in this knowledge.  For instance, the immediate image of "earth" that comes to mind is the photo taken on the Apollo moon mission.  It is difficult to comprehend the leaps of imagination that were necessary only a few hundred years ago, as the human mind sought to comprehend this place in which we live.

The instruments on this site contributed to the exploration and discovery of our world.  The site intends to provide a visual history of the age of scientific discovery and to demonstrate how, at their best, art and science were intertwined.  There is something gratifying about using the ultimate digital phenomena of our age -- the internet -- to present the ultimate analog systems of scientific history. 

I hope you enjoy the site. 


Tom Grill
1517 Washington Blvd.
Jersey City, NJ