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The Company was originally founded in Dublin by Thomas Grubb as the Grubb Telescope Company in 1833.
Thomas Grubb was joined in 1864 by his son Howard Grubb who built on the company's reputation for quality optical instruments. Grubb was also known for building accurate electrically driven clock drives for equatorial mounted telescopes. Some of the telescopes produced in the 19th century include the "Great Melbourne Telescope" - a 48-inch-diameter (1,200 mm) reflecting telescope with speculum primary mirror, the 27-inch refractor for the Vienna Observatory (1878), the 10-inch refractor at Armagh Observatory (1882), the 28-inch refractor at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich - the UK's largest refractor (1893), and the 10-inch refractor at Coats Observatory, Paisley (1898).
1887 Grubb's firm built seven normal astrographs for the Carte du Ciel international photographic star catalogue project, 13 inch refracting telescopes all designed to produce uniform photographic plates.
The company traded until 1985, designing and building the optical components for telescopes such as the Anglo-Australian Telescope, UK Infrared Telescope, Isaac Newton Telescope and the William Herschel Telescope, all of which are important astronomical instruments currently in use.
A partial history of the company was written by its last managing director, George M. Sisson