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Milo G. Mather demonstrated his genius most effectively when he was over sixty years old. He built the largest high-quality telescope in the area; the nearest comparable one was at the University of Wisconsin. Milo was born in Clarksville on March 22,1884. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Iowa State University in 1907. Milo returned to Clarksville in 1912 where he established Mather Machine Works & Garage. His business allowed him to build many interesting things such as his own generating plant before there was any public utility in the area. He had one of the first gas pumps in the area as well. Mather was on the Board of Education of the Clarksville School and was Mayor of Clarksville when he influenced the design of the sewer and water system. Milo had a great love of astronomy and set out to build a two-story observatory that housed a 24" diameter telescope that was completely homemade except for the lens. He even used parts from an old Ford Model T. Finished in 1950, it had an intricate mechanism that could fix on an object in the sky and follow it as the earth turned. One could see three moons of Saturn and the snow caps of Mars. He was also able to take pictures and the walls of the observatory were lined with charts and pictures. More than 1000 visitors a year listened as Milo shared his love of science and the stars. Milo Mather was a "Pioneer of Science" in Butler County where he influenced many people with his passion. Mather said, "My greatest thrill doesn't come from anything I see through the telescope, it's the thrill I get from watching young folks show an interest in the universe. I have always thought that a growing mind shapes a young person's character and delinquency is largely the result of having little to think about. I want to change that." After Milo Mather died in May 1960, arrangements were made to have the telescope, equipment, and housing moved to Ames and installed as a memorial to Lillian and Milo Mather. The "News of Iowa State" described the gift as "The Largest In the Great Plains: Telescope gift improves science facilities." Later the telescope was installed in facilities near Boone.
Mather in his electr... Read Full

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