Authorised form of nameTroughton; Edward (1753 - 1835)
Dates1753 - 1835
Dates and placesBirth:
In the parish of Corney, Cumberland, England (October 1753)
London (12 June 1835)
Kensal Green cemetery, London
Scientific instrument maker
Research Field:
Mathematics, optics, physics
Apprenticed to his elder brother, John, a mechanician in London, and later was his partner; after John's death, Edward took into partnership William Simms (FRS 1852); invented a new method of graduating arcs of circles (1778); was colour blind
First English maker of mathematics instruments to apply spider silk in surveying and astronomical instruments, though other English makers followed his lead. Troughton made a micrometer for Sir John Frederick William Herschel's seven foot equatorial instrument he used for the observations made between 1821 and 1823 of the apparent distances and positions of 380 double and triple stars. In 1824 on their five foot focus equatorial telescope John Herschel and Sir Edwin South used a Troughton micrometer and measured position angles to the remarkable degree of accuracy of 1" of arc.
Royal Society activityMembership:
Election Date:
Copley Medal 1809
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB
Proc Roy Soc 1834-1835 No 22 p 355
Brian J Ford, 'Shining Through the Centuries: John Ray's Life and Legacy. A Report of the Meeting "John Ray and his Successors"' in NR 2000 vol 54 pp 5-22
Allan Chapman, 'Pre-Eminently Precise', review of Anita McConnell, Instrument Makers to the World. A History of Cooke, Troughton, and Simms and Eleanor Mennim, Transit Circle. The Story of William Simms, 1793-1860 in NR 1995 vol 49 pp 168-170
Charles H Cotter, 'The Mariner's Sextant and the Royal Society' in NR 1978-9 vol 33 pp 23-36
A W Skempton and Joyce Brown, 'John and Edward Troughton, Mathematical Instrument Makers' in NR 1972-3 vol 27 pp 233-262, plate
M Croarken, 'Astronomical labourers: Maskelyne's assistants at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, 1765 - 1811' in NR 2003 vol 57 pp 285 - 298
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA7854
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
MC/1Volume 1 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1800-1831
L&P/13/16/1Paper, 'Remarks upon circles' by Edward Troughtonc.1810
L&P/13/16Paper, 'Remarks upon circles' by Edward Troughtonc.1810
MOB/065Spectroscope by Troughton and Simms1867
EC/1809/13Troughton, Edward: certificate of election to the Royal Society
MC/1/35Letter from Edward Troughton, mathematical instrument maker, London, to Nevil Maskalyne, Astronomer Royal23 June 1808
MC/1/78Letter from John Pond, Astronomer Royal, to Sir Humphry Davy, President of the Royal Society21 November 1821
MC/1/100Letter from James South, Hackney [?] Street, to Sir Humphry Davy, President of the Royal Society15 January 1824
MC/1/136Letter from Edward Troughton, Fleet Street, to the Royal Society23 November 1825
MC/1/155Letter from [George Biddell] Airy, Trinity College Cambridge, to Francis Baily, 37 Tavistock Place22 January 1828
MC/1/210Letter from [William] Simms, Fleet Street, to Davies Gilbert, President of the Royal Society17 March 1830
MC/1/283Letter from [Heinrich Christian] Schumacher, Altona, to James Hudson, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society8 February 1831
Add to My Items

    Collection highlights

    Browse the records of some of our collections, which cover all branches of science and date from the 12th century onwards. These include the published works of Fellows of the Royal Society, personal papers of eminent scientists, letters and manuscripts sent to the Society or presented at meetings, and administrative records documenting the Society's activities since our foundation in 1660.

    The Royal Society

    The Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of
    the world's most eminent scientists and is the
    oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.
    Registered charity number 207043

    Website design ©CalmView


    + 44 207 451 2500
    (Lines open Mon-Fri, 9:00-17:00. Excludes bank holidays)

    6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

    Email Us →


    Subscribe to our newsletters to be updated with the
    latest news on innovation, events, articles and reports.

    Subscribe →

    © CalmView