Boller and Chivens – “Where Precision is a Way of Life”

This site is a compilation of photos and text about Boller and Chivens.
Boller and Chivens manufactured high quality professional astronomical telescopes
and other optical and mechanical instruments.
Many photos on this site can be enlarged.
For more information about viewing photos, visit the Enlargement of Photographs Page.

This is a project by Mr. Winans who worked for Boller and Chivens for 43 years.
He wishes to acknowledge those who assisted in this project.
Click link to view the Acknowledgments page.

13 Responses to               Boller and Chivens – “Where Precision is a Way of Life”
  1. Haritina Mogosanu Reply

    I am the science curator at Space Place at Carter Observatory and we want to start using our telescope again. I have been wondering if there is any chance you could point me towards someone who has the manuals – or knows about it. People who used to operate it no longer work here so any help would be really appreciated. Mostly interested on how to setup the telescope’s clock.

    Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you


    • cinda webb Reply

      I am so sorry this took me so long to get back to you. As you know, Boller and Chivens has been out of business for many year. The gentleman who asked me to create this site does not have any of the manuals for the telescopes. I suggest you contact some of the other institutions who have 16 inch telescopes. The ones I am aware of are listed on the telescope page:
      The Harvard telescope was moved to the Smithsonian and they might be a good resource as they are probably using it in a similar way to what you would like to do.
      Hope you will be able to find what you need,

  2. Michael Long Reply

    Whitin Observatory at Wellesley University seems to have a 24-inch Boller and Chivens telescope, built in 1966 that is not on your list. It was a gift from Mrs. Margaret Sawyer. Do you have any information on it?

  3. Scott Sewell Reply

    My observatory (the High Altitude Observatory, part of the National Center for Atmospheric Research) has inherited the beautiful Solar Spar built by Boller and Chivens installed at the Sacramento Peak Observatory. Our hope is to refurbish the drive systems and relocate the spar to the summit of Mauna Loa as part of the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory. I read that the author of this site, Don Winans assembled the ‘sister’ spar in 1965 on Haleakala and was hoping to speak with him about some of the steps he took to do this task back in 1965! We have a more or less complete mechanical set of drawings for this spar.

  4. Felipe Barrientos Reply

    At the Universidad Catolica de Chile we have a 16-inch telescope that was originally at CTIO. You can find more information at

  5. Richard Tonello Reply

    Greetings B & C,

    FYI – The ‘Missing” 24″ B&C telescope(s) for the Lowell Observatory, I have found one for you.

    It currently resides in the Lowell Dome at the Perth Observatory, Western Australia.

    Originally sent to the Perth Observatory by Lowell Observatory for their Planetary Patrol Program, it was the Perth Observatory’s primary research instrument from the late 60’s until ~2012 when research funding ceased. It was instrumental (no pun intended) in the co-discovery (with the Kuiper Airborne Observatory) of the Uranian Rings in 1977 and also the confirmation of OGLE 2005-BLG-3990-Lb Exo Planet.

    Will be happy to send images upon request.

  6. Kevin Walsh Reply

    The University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, GA, has a 16″ B&C. About 10 years ago I assisted a bit in re-building the control paddle. The professor there, Dr. Jones, had a set of some, if not all, of the schematics. He just retired, but I think if you contact the UNG Physics and Astronomy Dept, they might be able to help. He still lives there, I think.

  7. Paul Fisher Reply

    One of the Lowell Observatory’s 24″ scopes was installed at Perth Observatory, Western Australia in the late 1960s. The attached links show images of the scope in situ in its tower dome. It is not in working condition at the moment but has been protected from the elements and should not take too much work to get going again. Unfortunately the government no longer funds the observatory as a research establishment and all work is now done by volunteers.

  8. Laura Fiorentino Reply

    Don Winans – the spar you assembled in 1965 on Haleakala is still in place at our Mees Facility.

  9. Tom Board Reply

    Just wanted to say that the two people in the “Electronics Assembly” area photo under “Manufacturing Facilities” is Ted Hamm at the far bench and Tom Board at the near bench. Ted was supposed to be on the 88″ Hawaii Telescope Installation Team, but had difficult breathing at 14,000 ft. So, I ended up going to Hawaii several times to do the electronics installation on the telescope. That was an experience I will never forget. I was with B & C from 1969 until it’s “sudden demise” in 1987. At that time I was transferred to Perkin Elmer’s Aerospace Division in Pomona, CA. Thanks to Don Winans and everyone else that contributed in putting this website together. It sure brings back some memories from a long time ago.

  10. Robert Miller Reply

    Thanks for the Boller & Chivens site. I have a number of photos of B&C instruments I am willing to share. The “Light Bucket”, B & C’s first telescope is the 36-inch at McDonald Observatory. I have used it on a number of occasions. I have enjoyed using seven B&C telescopes through the years.

  11. Julien Huot Reply

    I still work with a 1.6 m Boller and Chivens telescope, I would like to chat with other user. Maybe we can help each other.

    I’ve created a facebook group :

    Otherwise, my email is

  12. Nick Wethington Reply

    We have a 16″ B&C at the Blue Mountain Observatory in Missoula, Montana, which is operated by the University of Montana. It’s not used for research any more, but we host open houses for the public throughout the summer. At this point in its history, 10s of thousands of people have looked through that telescope! More information here if you want to put it on your listing:

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