Back in the early 17th century, a mathematician in Italy called Galileo Galilee devised a new instrument which he used to peer at the night-time sky and found that he could make far-away objects like stars and the moon seem much closer with this new device. Galileo realized that his invention - which we now know as the telescope - had the ground-breaking potential to reveal the secrets of the universe by revealing things not apparent to the naked eye. This was the origin of our modern-day telescopes.
Even the crude telescope created by Galileo is based on the same scientific principle our modern telescopes use - which states that two lenses can collect more light than that gathered by the naked eye, then focus the collected light onto one point so that an image can be seen through the lenses. Since light is "bent" or "refracted" to show this image, such telescopes were eventually named refracting telescopes (or just refractors, for short.)
Refracting telescopes are not the only types of telescopes that have evolved from Galileo's prototype. Telescopes slowly evolved as the technology behind them became more advanced.
You may discover that telescopes were made into bigger versions since astronomers wanted to peer more deeply into the mysteries of the night-time universe. At one point, telescopes were even made to somewhat ridiculous proportions as part of this developmental trend. Modern advancements in telescopes can be attributed to the growing needs of professional astronomers, and the government of many countries, as well as commercial users for better telescopes. For instance, the Hubble telescope of NASA is so strong that you can see images that are actually many hundred light-years away from the earth.
Telescope manufacturers then took development one step further by incorporating cameras into new telescope designs. You can attribute the up-to-date pictures of other galaxies you can see nowadays to this advancement. Try looking at the Milky Way as captured by these new telescopes and you will find yourself bowled over with the sight.