John Dollond

John Dollond
John Dollond

Born 21 June 1706(1706-06-21)
Died 30 November 1761(1761-11-30) (aged 55)
Nationality English
Fields Optics
Known for Achromatic doublet
Notable awards Copley Medal (1758)

John Dollond (10 June O.S. (21 June N.S.) 1706 - 30 November 1761) was an English optician, known for his successful optics business and his patenting and commercialization of achromatic doublets.



One of Dollond's telescopes in the White Hall of the Vilnius University Library

Dollond was the son of a Huguenot refugee, a silk-weaver at Spitalfields, London, where he was born. He followed his father's trade, but found time to acquire a knowledge of Latin, Greek, mathematics, physics, anatomy and other subjects. In 1752 he abandoned silk-weaving and joined his eldest son, Peter Dollond (1730–1820), who in 1750 had started in business as a maker of optical instruments; this business is now Dollond & Aitchison. His reputation grew rapidly, and in 1761 he was appointed optician to the king.

In 1758 he published an "Account of some experiments concerning the different refrangibility of light" (Phil. Trans., 1758), describing the experiments that led him to the achievement with which his name is specially associated, the discovery of a means of constructing achromatic lenses by the combination of crown and flint glasses, which reduces chromatic aberration (color defects). Leonhard Euler in 1747 had suggested that achromatism might be obtained by the combination of glass and water lenses. Relying on statements made by Sir Isaac Newton, Dollond disputed this possibility (Phil. Trans., 1753), but subsequently, after the Swedish physicist, Samuel Klingenstierna (1698–1765), had pointed out that Newton's law of dispersion did not harmonize with certain observed facts, he began experiments to settle the question.

Early in 1757 he succeeded in producing refraction without colour by the aid of glass and water lenses, and a few months later he made a successful attempt to get the same result by a combination of glasses of different qualities (see History of telescopes). For this achievement the Royal Society awarded him the Copley Medal in 1758, and three years later elected him one of its fellows. Dollond also published two papers on apparatus for measuring small angles (Phil. Trans., 1753, 1754).

Priority of invention

Dollond patented the achromatic doublet, which combines crown glass and flint glass.

John Dollond was the first person to patent the achromatic doublet.[1] However, it is well known that he was not the first to make achromatic lenses. Optician George Bass, following the instructions of Chester Moore Hall, made and sold such lenses as early as 1733.[2] In the late 1750s, Bass told Dollond about Hall's design; Dollond saw the potential and was able to reproduce them.[1]

Dollond appears to have known of the prior work and refrained from enforcing his patent.[2] After his death, his son, Peter, did take action to enforce the patent. A number of his competitors, including Bass, Benjamin Martin, Robert Rew and Jesse Ramsden, took action. Dollond's patent was upheld, as the court found that the patent was valid due to Dollond's exploitation of the invention while prior inventors did not. Several of the opticians were ruined by the expense of the legal proceedings and closed their shops as a result. The patent remained valid until it expired in 1772.[2] Following the expiry of the patent, the price of achromatic doublets in England dropped in half.[3] More details on this invention are in History of the telescope.

See also


  1. ^ a b Watson, Fred (2007). Stargazer: the life and times of the telescope. Allen & Unwin. pp. 140–55. ISBN 9781741753837. 
  2. ^ a b c Daumas, Maurice, Scientific Instruments of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries and Their Makers, Portman Books, London 1989 ISBN 978-0713407273
  3. ^ Ronald Pearsall, Collecting and Restoring Scientific Instruments, David and Charles, London 1974, ISBN 0-7153-6354-9

External links

Media related to John Dollond at Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • John Dollond — (* 10. Juni 1706 in Spitalfields, London; † 30. November 1761 in London) war ein britischer Optiker und Teleskopbauer von französischer Herkunft. Leben Er stammte aus einer …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Dollond — John Dollond. Nacimiento 10 de junio de 1706 Londres Fallecimiento 30 de noviembre de 1761 …   Wikipedia Español

  • John Dollond — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Dollond. John Dollond …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Dollond — (10.6.1706 30.11.1761) Englischer Optiker, von Beruf eigentlich Seidenweber, arbeitete er bei seinem Sohn Peter (1730 1820), der einen optischen Betrieb gegründet hatte. Dort entdeckte er die unterschiedlichen Brechungsindizes von Flint und… …   Das Lexikon aus „Bernie's Foto-Programm"

  • Dollond & Aitchison — Type formerly Limited, since 2009 subsidiary of Boots Opticians Industry Healthcare Founded 1750 …   Wikipedia

  • Dollond & Aitchison — John Dollond 52.497923 1.88033 Koordinaten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dollond (crater) — Coordinates 10°24′S 14°24′E / 10.4°S 14.4°E / …   Wikipedia

  • Dollond — ist der Name von John Dollond (1706–1761), englischer Teleskopbauer Peter Dollond (1731–1820), sein Sohn; englischer Optiker, Leiter eines optischen Instituts George Dollond (1774–1852), englischer Optiker, Konstrukteur astronomischer und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dollond — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Dollond Nom d une famille d opticiens anglais : John Dollond (1706 1761), opticien anglais. Ayant formé ses deux fils, Peter Dollond et John Dollond …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Lewis (department store) — John Lewis Type Subsidiary Industry Retail Genre Department Store Founded …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.