Optical Flat in Box with Other Items

Astronomy

Accession Number: 2017.ast.45

Description:

This object consists of a cardboard box with a lid that flaps open. Inside there are three items. Two are empty boxes: One of these is small, roughly octagonal with a leather surface, a metal latch, and with a blue satin interior. The other box is rectangular, has a mottled paper surface, and opens by separating in the centre.

Also in the box is a cardboard box originally for a photographic slide; this has a note taped to the top. Inside this box is a small optical flat wedged with with a piece of wood and newspapers, and wrapped in a beige scrap of stretchy fabric. The optical flat is entirely glass, with a very slightly beveled rim and a misted outside edge.

Primary Materials:

Flat: Glass; Container: Cardboard, Paper, Leather, Fabric (Synthetic), Wood

Markings:

Exterior/Interior lid of outside box:
“BATH LUXURIES
MADE BY
MORNY
201 Regent Street,
LONDON”

Exterior of box containing flat (main text only):
“HYPERSENSITIVE
PANCHROMATIC
DRY PLATES
MADE IN U.S.A BY
EASTMAN KODAK CO., ROCHESTER, N.Y.”

On a handwritten note taped on this box:
“Don, Here is RKY’s flat. Jack.
1969 June.”

Engraved apparently by hand around the perimeter of the flat:
“J.W. FECKER PITTSBURGH, PA 11/27”

Dimensions (cm):

Flat: Diameter = 13cm, Height = 1.8cm Whole Box: length= 27.5cm x 22cm x 7cm

Function:

An optical flat is a highly polished flat surface used to measure the flatness of other objects. When the flat is placed in contact against another surface, interference bands from monochromatic light can be examined to determine the flatness of the unknown surface.

The original or significant purpose of the other boxes is unknown.

Condition:

Fair. The boxes are somewhat damaged and worn from long use.

The optical flat appears to be in good condition.

Manufacturer: J.W. Fecker, Pittsburgh, PA

Date of Manufacture: November 1927

Provenance:

According to the attached note, the flat belonged to Reynold K. Young (1886-1977), who served as the Director of the David Dunlap Observatory and the Chair of the Department of Astronomy from 1935-1946. It appears to have undergone a transfer of location or ownership in 1969.

This object was likely moved from the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill in 2008, upon the sale of the observatory. It was stored at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics until 2017, when it was moved to a new storage location in McLennan Physical Laboratories.

Additional Information and References:

J. W. Fecker, whose name is engraved on the flat, was a telescope maker from 1926 through into the 1960s.