Gascoigne, William

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b. 1612 (?) near Leeds, Yorkshire, England
d. 2 July 1644 Marston Moor, Yorkshire, England
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English astronomer and inventor of the micrometer.
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As the son of a country gentleman, William Gascoigne would have had opportunities to receive reasonable schooling, but there is no record of how or where he was educated. However, by the late 1630s he had acquired a considerable knowledge of astronomy and was in correspondence with other scholars. About 1638 he invented an instrument to measure small angles in a telescope, consisting of two parallel wires in the eye piece moved by a calibrated screw. His invention remained unknown until it was reinvented thirty years later. He is said to have left the manuscript of a treatise on optics, but this did not survive. He was killed fighting for the royalist side at the battle of Marston Moor.
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Further Reading
C.C.Gillespie (ed.), 1970–6, Dictionary of Scientific Biography, New York, s.v.Gascoigne; Towneley.
A.F.Burstall, 1963, A History of Mechanical Engineering, London, p. 159 (includes a drawing of Gascoigne's micrometer).
RTS

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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