George Ellery Hale was the twentieth century’s most important builder of telescopes. In 1897, Hale built a 40-inch-wide telescope, the largest ever built at that time. His second telescope, with a 60-inch lens, was set up in 1917 and took 14 years to build. During that time, Hale became convinced that he suffered from "Americanitis a disorder in which the ambitions of Americans drive them insane. During the building of his lens, Hale spent time in a sanatorium, and would only discuss his plans for the telescope with a "sympathetic green elf."