miscellaneous


A fascinating post here braiding together the lives of Clyde Tombaugh, Venetia Burney, and the unusually named Plato Chan.  Born on March 14, 1930, he was supposed to be named Pluto, as it happens — and he would come to his own early fame, as Peter Sieruta points out.  Influences and perturbations indeed!

Plato (Pluto) Chan, winner of the Caldecott at age 12

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When Clyde Tombaugh was at his wits’ end, a fortuitious invitation came from Napoleon Carreau, in Wichita, the man to whom Clyde had sent his mirror to be silvered.  Carreau offered Clyde a job — the start date was uncertain — and Clyde was of two minds concerning the offer.  This photograph is from an optical outfit (not Carreau’s) from around 1915.Carreau's shop

Clyde is not prepared to like Carreau, but he begins to warm to him.  For the next half hour Clyde follows him around the shop.  They begin in the optics corner, where the speculae are cut from heavy sheets of plate glass using a giant jigsaw; then to the grinding bench, where Henry Bundt labors in his buttoned vest; to Rene Poule in his gloves at the silvering table, behind which the brown bottles of nitrate of silver and tartaric acid and caustic potash are lined along a black shelf.  Around a corner, in the instrument shop, is where the telescope housings are welded, finding scopes fitted, mountings bolted.