Completed in 1888, the Lick Observatory had the most powerful telescope in the world and it was far superior to any existing scientific observatory at that time in history. Built on Mount Hamilton, about 50 miles south of San Francisco, with $600,000 in funds donated by a wealthy businessman, James Lick, the observatory became both a major scientific institution as well as a tourist attraction.
Four hand engraved bright-cut views of the Lick Observatory, San Jose, California ca. 1895 show the differences in each artists view of the institution and also show the skills necessary to become a master engraver.
In 1892, the 36" diameter refracting telescope was used to discover the 5th moon of Jupiter. The complex is composed of seven domes with offices, workshops and housing for the astronomers. It is about 4,200 feet above sea level and is still in operation with a staff of about 80.
handles on the Lick Observatory spoons
1. Bright cut bluebell flowers engraved May 7, 1894
2. Typical California State handle
3. Beeded pattern handle
4. Hyperion pattern handle
left: commemorating the flyby of Halley's comet in
right: bowl embossed picture of Lick Observatory
Halley's comet came back to visit us in 1986. At that time a series of solid silver medallions was created as a memento of the event. The only access to see these medals is by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.
This hand engraved bowl pictures the Goodsell Observatory. The engraved flowers and embossed name handle indicates it is from "Carleton College", Northfield, Minnesota
"From the 1870s until the Second World War the
Carleton observatory was among
the best and most prominent in the United States. It set time for all
major railroads from Chicago to Seattle. It published the leading
journals in the country. It was home to one of the nation's first state
services. Its astronomers published articles in both popular and
magazines. Its celestial photographs were widely sought."
from the Goodsell Observatory web site.
Engraved handle for the Yerkes Observatory in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Built in 1897 by George Ellery Hale and financed by Charles Yerkes.
This observatory calls itself "the birthplace of modern astrophysics" and
houses the largest refracting telescope in the world.
1897 photo of the telescope
Click to see 4 special silver medals of Halley's Comet
Return to Spoon planet exhibits Index