Troughton was born at Corney, Cumberland. In 1779, after serving an apprenticeship with his elder brother John, he became his partner and soon established himself as the top maker of navigational, surveying and astronomical instruments in Britain.
In 1795 he delivered the Troughton Equatorial Telescope to the Armagh Observatory, a 2 inch aperture refractor telescope mounted equatorially, and its first major instrument since its founding in 1790 (It survived into the 21st century also).  He created the Groombridge Transit Circle in 1806, which Stephen Groombridge used to compile his star catalogue. He did not merely build instruments, but designed and invented new ones.
Troughton was involved in a lawsuit against Sir James South, who was dissatisfied with the quality of an equatorial mounting that Troughton made for him. Troughton sued for payment, and with informal legal counsel provided by Richard Sheepshanks, he prevailed.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Troughton, Edward.|