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CARY, WILLIAM (1759–1825), philosophical instrument maker, was a pupil of Ramsden, and set up before 1790 a separate business, which he pursued energetically until his death at the age of sixty-six on 16 Nov. 1825. He constructed for Dr. Wollaston in 1791 a transit circle—the first made in England—two feet in diameter and provided with microscopes for reading off. In 1805 he sent to Moscow a transit-instrument described and figured in Pearson's ‘Practical Astronomy’ (ii. 362–5), for the safety of which Bonaparte provided in 1812 by a special order. A circle of 41 centimetres, ordered from Cary by Feer about 1790, is still preserved at the Zürich observatory. He was, besides, the maker of the 2½-foot altitude and azimuth instrument with which Bessel began his observations at Königsberg, and of numerous excellent sextants, microscopes, reflecting and refracting telescopes, &c. A catalogue of the instruments sold by him at 182 Strand, London, is in the possession of the Naturforschende Gesellschaft of Zürich. His name occurs on the first list of members of the Astronomical Society, and he contributed for several years the Meteorological Diary to the ‘Gentleman's Magazine.’

[Wolf's Gesch. d. Astr. p. 562 (1877); Gent. Mag. xcv. (ii.) 475; Mem. R. A. Soc. ii. 532.]

A. M. C.