Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Adams, George (d.1773)

ADAMS, GEORGE, the elder (d. 1773), mathematical instrument maker to George III, obtained a world-wide reputation as a maker of celestial and terrestrial globes, and his ‘treatise describing and explaining the construction and use of new celestial and terrestrial globes’ passed through thirty editions. The book first appeared in 1766, and its dedication to the king has been attributed to Dr. Johnson. The thirtieth edition was issued in 1810, with a preface and additions by Adams's younger son Dudley. Adams was also the author of: 1. ‘Micrographia Illustrata, or the knowledge of the microscope explained’ (1746), which included ‘a translation of Mr. Joblott's observations on animalculæ,’ and passed through four editions between its date of publication and 1771. 2. ‘The Description and Use of a new Sea-quadrant for taking the altitude of the sun from the visible horizon’ (1748). 3. ‘The Description and Use of the Universal Trigonometrical Octant, invented and applied to Hadley's Quadrant’ (1753). Adams died in 1773, according to the statement of his second son, Dudley Adams, in his preface to the thirtieth edition of his work on the globes, and not in 1786 as previous biographers have stated.

[Dudley Adams's edition of the Treatise on the Globes (1810); A. de Morgan in S.D.U.K. Biog. Dict.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]