In the days before reflecting telescopes, refractors were used. In order to see further and further they got larger and larger. This meant very long telescopes and making these was technically very difficult. The reflecting scopes removed the length limitations and introduced far larger apertures in a manageable size. The old refractors were overtaken. However, they are still very usable. The 36 inch refractor at the Lick Observatory is still in regular use. They do provide tours of it for visitors.
The building it is housed in is quite grand in itself. A function of its time, it has a wonderful wooden floor that is designed to be raised and lowered to allow the observer to reach the end of the telescope irrespective of what angle it is pointing at. The floor movement is current not in use and they have a sturdy ladder instead. The telescope itself is quite huge and it is amazing to think how long it has been in use.
The tour was very interesting and the guide really had a passion for the scope and the work they do with it. He also allowed me to get some additional shots once everyone had moved on which was very kind.