John Alfred Brashear had only a third grade education.
He worked in the steel mills of Pittsburgh as a millwright.
After work, we would spend many an hour stargazing.
He had a real passion for the night sky!
He also wanted a telescope.
Now this was back at the turn of the 19th Century and he simply could not
afford to buy one.
Existing instruments back then were really only for the wealthy.
So what did he do?
He taught himself to grind mirrors and how to polish lenses. and eventually
became the greatest telescope maker in his day.
His brilliance caught the attention of businesspeople in his city, who set him
up with his own shop.
He built refractor telescopes, for universities, and private individuals as well.
When he passed away in the 1920's, he actually had at least 20 honorary degrees
bestowed up on him during his life.
So if you ever get the chance to see a Brashear telescope in person, remember the man behind it.
Today we are fortunate as amateur astronomers to be able to buy reasonably priced telescopes
with high quality features, like this one from Explore Scientific.
I'm sure John Brashear would be quite impressed, if he were alive today.