In 1886 William Taylor (1865-1937), with his brother, Thomas Smithies Taylor, founded an optical instrument company in Slate Street, Leicester. Shortly afterwards, William Hobson joined them as sales manager. Taylor, Taylor & Hobson soon gained a reputation for the quality of their products.
In 1893 H. Dennis Taylor (no relation) of T. Cooke & Sons of York, astronomical telescope makers, designed the Cooke Triplet to overcome distortion or aberration at the edge of the lens (Patent number 1991). However, T. Cooke & Sons did not want to become involved in manufacturing photographic lenses and Taylor, Taylor & Hobson were given the manufacturing rights, using the Cooke name. T. Cooke and Sons manufactured refracting telescopes in York. eg the 'Thorrowgood Telescope' now at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge.
Since then Cooke lenses have been used in a variety of locations, such as by Frank Hurley for the 1914 Shackleton Antarctic Expedition and on Everest in 1922 and 1924. In the 1950s they were in most 35mm film cameras. Today, as they have been for a hundred years, Cooke lenses are widely used by filmmakers. Recent examples include the Harry Potter films and Downton Abbey.
Taylor Hobson and Cooke Optics are now separate companies, but both are still based in Leicester. Taylor Hobson are precision engineers in the field of metrology .
Charles Gorrie Wynne (1911–1999) was employed at Taylor, Taylor & Hobson from 1936 to 1943. He later was involved with optics for major telescopes such as the 200 inch Palomar and the Isaac Newton Telescopes.
John Franklin-Adams s (1843-1912),, an amateur astronomer built a private observatory at Machrihanish, in Argyll.
"The new f/10 astrometric lens specially manufactured by Messrs Taylor, Taylor and Hobson was received in September..." - Report from Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, March, 1960.
There was a report in 1968 with regard to measuring star positions that "...it has been decided to photograph the whole of the southern sky with the 'new' Taylor Hobson astrometric camera." It was the intention to complete the survey within three years. (Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1968, 9 p174-5)
During the meeting members visited nearby places of interest. These included Taylor, Taylor and Hobson. A 4 inch lens made by the company for the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa (now part of the South African Astronomical Observatory) was amongst exhibits shown at one of the evening receptions.
GB190720506 (A) - Improvements in Time Recording Apparatus (Racing pigeons)
Taylor Hobson - high precision technology company
History - Cooke Optics Limited website, with a page for each decade from the 1890s.
The Taylor Hobson Story (website of current Taylor Hobson, precision engineering)
"Cooke Book" [pdf] (Included in Cooke Book 2013, above)
Taylor, Taylor and Hobson - Grace's Guide.
"Royal Visit To Leicester", The Times, Wednesday, June 11, 1919, p7. Includes visit of George V and Queen Mary to Taylor, Taylor & Hobson.
"Report of the proceedings of the Greenwich, Royal Observatory", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1927, Vol. 87, p.264-67. p265
"The British Association meeting, 1933 September 6-13", The Observatory, 1933, Vol. 56, p289-291
"Proceedings of Observatories, Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, (15 months ended 1960 March 31)", Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1960, Vol 1, p85. p91
"Proceedings of Observatories, Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, (18 months ended 1967 December 31)", Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1968, 9 164-187. p175 "...the 'new' Taylor Hobson astrometric camera."
Obituary Notices: Fellows:- Franklin-Adams, John, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 73, p.210-13 p211
Photographic chart of the heavens to Argelander's scale 1°=20mm Authors: Franklin-Adams, J., 1904, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 64, p.608
Last updated 6th March, 2013.