Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Fitz, Henry

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FITZ, Henry, telescope-maker, b. in Newburyport, Mass., in 1808; d. in New York city, 6 Nov., 1863. He began life as a printer, but, being of an inventive turn, learned the trade of locksmith, at which he worked for many years. In 1835 he made his first reflecting telescope, and in the winter of 1844 invented a method of perfecting object-glasses for refracting telescopes, constructing the first one out of the bottom of an ordinary tumbler. In 1845 he exhibited at the American institute fair an instrument that brought him the favorable notice of eminent astronomers, and he thenceforth devoted himself to making telescopes as a business with remarkable success. He finally succeeded in producing instruments of sixteen-inch aperture, and also made two of thirteen inches — one for the Dudley observatory at Albany, and the other for an association of gentlemen at Alleghany City, Pa. There is one of his manufacture, of twelve inches aperture, at Ann Arbor, and he completed another for the Vassar female college. Mr. Fitz's methods were entirely his own devising. When seized with his final illness, he was about to sail for Europe to select a glass for a twenty-four-inch telescope, and to procure patents for a camera, involving a new form of lens.