James Nasmyth (1808-1890)

British engineer and inventor of the steam hammer. He retired at 48 years and devoted the rest of his life to astronomy. More information here on his life and a link to his autobiography.

This 19th century engraving shows the old boy himself seated at his 20 inch telescope. He was the first person to come up with the idea of using a third diagonal flat mirror to pass the beam through a hollow altitude axis. This allows the focal plane to always remain in the same position no matter where the telescope is pointing... Very comfortable and convenient for the observer.

However, it must have been a constant struggle moving the hand wheels to keep the object under study centred. I doubt if he even knew about field rotation and couldn't compensate for it if he did. His main area of study was the moon.

For years his telescope was on display in the Science Museum (London), but if it is still there today I've no idea.