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Alvan Clark

Also Known as: Alvin Clark

Ashfield, Massachusetts 1804

Cambridge, Massachusetts 1887

Luce Artist Biography

Alvan Clark trained as a copper engraver and was a self-taught painter. He opened a studio in Boston in 1836, but thanks to his son’s science experiments in school, became interested in grinding lenses for telescopes. In 1844 he and two of his sons opened their own business, and became the leading American manufacturers of telescopes. The Clark Refracting Telescope is still highly regarded, and in 1897, Clark made what is still the largest refracting telescope in the world: a forty-inch refractor with a sixty-foot-long telescope tube, installed at the Yerkes Observatory, in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.