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James Short


1710 - 1768

Astronomer and scientific instrument-maker. Born in Edinburgh, the brother of Thomas Short (d.1788) and educated at George Heriot's School, the High School of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh, where he was taught mathematics and astronomy by Professor Colin Maclaurin (1698 - 1746). Moving to London in 1738, he became a renowned maker of reflecting telescopes. He worked to perfect the production of parabolic mirrors within a telescope and was able to produce these in numbers, making at least 1370 telescopes during his lifetime, Captain Cook is known to have taken two of Short's telescopes on his first voyage. When he died, his brother Thomas brought many of his instruments to Edinburgh.


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