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:  Acknowledgments


The Goddard Spaceflight center 36″ B&C telescope is still there and apparently intact and undamaged, though not in use as the building’s roof no longer operates. I am not authorized to take pictures or touch it, but the telescope is quite a sight lurking there in the building.

It was an incredible pleasure to read the informational history and see some of the pictures. It brought back many memories of my fathers work and the many times I visited the South Pasadena facility. It is unfortunate that I report, Bill DeBoynton passed in February of 2020, but it brings pleasure knowing his contributions to the world of Boller and Chivens/Perkin-Elmer have not gone unremembered.

I can tell you where the Lick 24? Boller and Chivens went in the early 00s. Hye-Sook Park at Livermore Lab was looking for a suitable scope for an experiment. I told her I’d seen the 24? in the collimation tunnel under the 120? Shane dome. She refurbished it and sent it to Kitt Peak as Super-LOTIS. Here is the only live link I could find on the web: If you are interested, you might write to Kitt Peak and ask where it is now.

As an FYI, with an upgrade to a modern 1-meter telescope in the works, the US Air Force Academy has donated it’s 24? B&C to the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society (CSASTRO). We are currently fundraising (we’re a 501c3 Non-Profit) towards construction of a community observatory facility centered around this historical B&C to further extend our public outreach program.

We’d love to hear from anyone involved in it’s operation 1965 – 1977 at Cambridge Labs; rumor has it it was used for scouting Apollo landing sites. Any historical documentation & photos (originals or copies) which could be used in a history display at it’s new home would be greatly appreciated!

You can reach CSASTRO at or on Facebook @Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. We’re also putting together a page specifically for the B&C, along with a GoFundMe campaign. More to come!

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:

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 :

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.

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.

Greetings. 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.


2015/12/21 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,

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.