Astronomer, Educator, and Optician
John A. Brashear
History Cover Page

John A Brashear (1840 - 1920)

Portrait of Astronomer and
Optician John A. Brashear

From the position of a millwright in a steel mill on Pittsburgh's South Side, with little formal education, John A. Brashear became one of the most successful producers of telescopes and precision scientific instruments in the world. Brashear telescopes are still in use, worldwide, including two in public observatories in the Pittsburgh area: 11-inch Brashear Refractor at the Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory, operated by the Amateur Astronomers' Association of Pittsburgh[originally commissioned by Andrew Carnegie, so students in his Carnegie Technical Schools(now, Carnegie-Mellon University) could see Halley's Comet in 1910], and 4-inch Brashear Refractor at the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory of The Carnegie Science Center[originally, donated to The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science in 1972].

John Brashear served as Acting Director of Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory(then located on the campus of the Western University of Pennsylvania on Old Observatory Hill in Allegheny City, Pa., prior to the University's planned move to the Oakland section of Pittsburgh; with annexation to the City of Pittsburgh in 1907, Allegheny City became Pittsburgh's North Side) and, almost singlehandedly, raised the funds to build the three-dome Observatory building which exists today. He was also Acting Chancellor of the Western University of Pennsylvania(now, the University of Pittsburgh) and served on the Board of Directors of Carnegie Institute and the Carnegie Technical Schools(now Carnegie-Mellon University). He associated with many of Pittsburgh's captains of industry including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, George Westinghouse, William Thaw, and Henry Phipps.

With his love of people, particularly children, most Pittsburghers knew him as "Uncle John." The cremated remains of John Brashear, and his wife Phoebe, lie in a special crypt below the base of one of the telescopes Brashear's company produced for the Allegheny Observatory. From the poem, "The Old Astronomer to His Pupil," by Sarah Williams, which both Brashears loved, the epitaph on their spaces read:

"We have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."


Authored By Glenn A. Walsh *** Sponsored By Friends of the Zeiss
Electronic Mail: < unclejohn@planetarium.cc > *** Internet Web Site Cover Page: < http://www.planetarium.cc >

NEWS: Planetarium, Astronomy,
Space, Other Sciences

Ask Questions About
Astronomy or Other Sciences

Master Index for History of
Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh


Biographies

John A. Brashear

Autobiography
(Full text - in its entirety)

Biographical Fact Sheet & Brief Biography *** Short Biography *** Capsule Biography *** Photo Album

* 2006 Oct. 18 - Investor's Business Daily:
John Brashear Kept His Goals In Sharp Focus
BY DONNA HOWELL, Technology Reporter
Friends of the Zeiss Project Director Glenn A. Walsh is extensively
quoted in this national business newspaper article, regarding the life of
famous 19th century astronomer and lens maker John A. Brashear.

Colleagues of John A. Brashear

Scientists: Professor Samuel Pierpont Langley *** Professor James E. Keeler

Philanthropists & Industrialists:
Andrew Carengie *** Henry Clay Frick *** Charles M. Schwab *** Henry Phipps *** George Westinghouse


Other Histories Related to John Brashear

John Brashear Accompanies Andrew Carnegie
to Dedication of Andrew Carnegie Free Library

John Brashear and the Historic 11-inch Refractor Telescope

11-inch Brashear Refractor at the Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory

Crater on Planet Mars Named for John Brashear

"The Old Astronomer to His Pupil," poem by Sarah Williams
loved by John and Phoebe Brashear;
inspiration for the Brashears' epitaph:
"We have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."

Friends of the Phoebe
The Phoebe, John Brashear's boat used on Lake Muskoka in Canada.

* 2002 March - Magazine of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, Toronto Chapter:
The Restoration of the Historic Steam Launch Phoebe.
By Henk Wevers, P.Eng.
Coordinator Phoebe Restoration Group
Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston.


News Articles About John A. Brashear

From McClure's Magazine, April, 1911:
JOHN A. BRASHEAR OF PITTSBURGH
WHOSE INSTRUMENTS OF PRECISION HAVE MADE POSSIBLE
MANY IMPORTANT DISCOVERIES IN PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY

By Edwin Tenney Brewster

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 8, 1920:
Obituary of John A. Brashear

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 22, 1995:
Astronomical: 1908 Brashear Telescope Aimed at the Stars Again

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February, 1996:
Pittsburgh Astronomer is Saluted as an Asteroid is Named for Him

From the Pittsburgh City Paper, June 9, 1999:
You Had to Ask: The Naming of Asteroids
in Honor of Pittsburgh and Allegheny City
Actually Honors John Brashear

* 2002 March - Magazine of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, Toronto Chapter:
The Restoration of the Historic Steam Launch Phoebe.
By Henk Wevers, P.Eng.
Coordinator Phoebe Restoration Group
Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston.

* 2006 Oct. 18 - Investor's Business Daily:
John Brashear Kept His Goals In Sharp Focus
BY DONNA HOWELL, Technology Reporter
Friends of the Zeiss Project Director Glenn A. Walsh is extensively
quoted in this national business newspaper article, regarding the life of
famous 19th century astronomer and lens maker John A. Brashear.


Related Links

Allegheny Observatory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago, Illinois

Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory, Russelton, Pennsylvania, of the
Amateur Astronomers' Association of Pittsburgh<.a> -

Deer Lakes Regional Park of the County of Allegheny, Russelton, Pennsylvania
(home of the Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory)

Amateur Astronomers' Association of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Brashear Association, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

L-3 Brashear, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(formerly Contraves Brashear Systems, L.P.)
Current successor to John Brashear's optical company

L-3 Brashear prepared the mirror of the 8.2-meter flagship telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the Subaru Telescope, which started astronomical research in January of 1999 on Mauna Kea in Hawaii:
Link 1 *** Link 2

Brashear High School of the School District of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

John A. Brashear Lodge No. 743
Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
John Brashear was instrumental in establishment of, what originally was called, the Carnegie Technical Schools.
(formerly the Carnegie Technical Schools and the Carnegie Institute of Technology, and
also the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research)

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
John Brashear served as Acting Chancellor of, what originally was called, the Western University of Pennsylvania.
(formerly the Pittsburgh Academy and the Western University of Pennsylvania)


Other History Links

History of the Allegheny Observatory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
America's Fifth Major Planetarium

\Allegheny City Society, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Preserving the history of Allegheny City and Pittsburgh's North Side

Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Operated by the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania

History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries

History of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library Civil War Museum:
The Captain Thomas Espy Post #153, Grand Army of the Republic
,
Carnegie, Pennsylvania

History Cover Page for The Duquesne Incline, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Astronomer, Educator, and Optician
John A. Brashear History Cover Page
John A Brashear (1840 - 1920)

Authored By Glenn A. Walsh *** Sponsored By Friends of the Zeiss
Electronic Mail: < unclejohn@planetarium.cc > *** Internet Web Site Cover Page: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
This Internet Web Page: < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >

NEWS: Planetarium, Astronomy,
Space, Other Sciences

Ask Questions About
Astronomy or Other Sciences

Master Index for History of
Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh



Disclaimer Statement: This Internet Web page is not affiliated with the Brashear Association, Inc., L3 Brashear,
Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory,
The Carnegie Science Center, or The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Institute.

This Internet, World Wide Web Site, created June 26, 1999, administered by Glenn A. Walsh.
Copyright 1999-2006, Glenn A. Walsh, All Rights Reserved.
Additions and corrections to: unclejohn@planetarium.cc

Last modified : Saturday, 04-Aug-2007 16:14:54 EDT.
You are visitor number , to this web page, since August 8, 2000.