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Thread: When do aspherically ground lenses date from?

  1. #1

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    When do aspherically ground lenses date from?

    I am aware that such lenses were made (for telescope-photographic use using steam powered grinding machines) in late Victorian times, but does anyone know who first came up with the idea and first put it into practice it?

  2. #2

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    Re: Qhen do aspherically ground lenses date from?

    I think Canon used it in a very fast normal focal length lens in the 1960's.

  3. #3

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    Re: Qhen do aspherically ground lenses date from?

    The first series production lens with an aspherical element that I'm aware of is the Elgeet 12/1.2 Cine Navitar. In C-mount, for 16 mm cine.

  4. #4

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    Re: When do aspherically ground lenses date from?

    If Wiki can be believed:
    "Early attempts at making aspheric lenses to correct spherical aberration were made by René Descartes in the 1620s, and by Christiaan Huygens in the 1670s; the cross-section of the shape devised by Descartes for this purpose is known as a Cartesian oval. The Visby lenses found in Viking treasures on the island of Gotland dating from the 10th or 11th century are also aspheric, but exhibit a wide variety of image qualities, ranging from similar to modern aspherics in one case to worse than spheric lenses in others."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspher...%2C%201667%2F8.


    Dan's assertion, "Elgeet for use in the Golden Navitar 12 mm f/1.2 normal lens for use on 16 mm movie cameras in 1956." appears correct. Long before Canon or Leica produced aspheric Foto lenses.


    Bernice

  5. #5

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    Re: When do aspherically ground lenses date from?

    Thanks. I never thought to check on wiki. Next time.

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: When do aspherically ground lenses date from?

    I'm getting glad my security filter doesn't even allow me to pull up Wicki anymore. Take it with a grain of salt. A Cartgesian oval involves a ground flat spot, and is a far cry from the current meaning of an aspheric element, which involves something of an S-curve. The real deal had to evolve parallel to serious improvements in glass itself anyway. But it's probable that, just like in many alleged new things film and optical, secret surveillance applications preceded commercial ones. I'm unaware of any actual old astronomical telescope use of it; but the person who would really know, I haven't spoken to in person for awhile because he's still under immune system pandemic isolation due to cancer treatment. Maybe it will come to mind next time I see him again. It's an interesting question, regardless. But I was distinctly under the impression that LARGE aspherics, needed for actual astro observatory scopes, were simply not realistic to precisely make or mount until the latter half of the 20th C. That is based on conversations with the person who owned the company actually specializing in that application, who is now deceased, though the corporation itself is certainly still alive and well. Maybe if I have time later in the day, I might remember to look them up an see whether or not their website still has a historical background section to it. Until then, take my own words with a grain of salt.

  7. #7

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    Re: When do aspherically ground lenses date from?

    I imagine the first lenses ever ground were at least slightly aspheric.



    Thanks you've been a great crowd!

  8. #8
    Nodda Duma's Avatar
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    Re: When do aspherically ground lenses date from?

    Foucault devised a tester to allow deterministic fabrication of aspheric surface for telescope mirrors in 1858. Before the Foucault tester was invented, aspherics were made but couldn’t be measured to a high level of accuracy (not that it stopped them from being made).

    Eyeglasses have often historically had aspheric surfaces.

    Being able to generate optics with surfaces which deviate from spherical is nothing new. Spherical optics got popular when mass production became popular and people decided they wanted to make bunches all at once.
    Newly made large format dry plates available! Look:
    https://www.pictoriographica.com

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: When do aspherically ground lenses date from?

    Thanks, Jason. It's always welcome when you chime in on such subjects.

  10. #10

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    Re: When do aspherically ground lenses date from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nodda Duma View Post
    Foucault devised a tester to allow deterministic fabrication of aspheric surface for telescope mirrors in 1858. Before the Foucault tester was invented, aspherics were made but couldn’t be measured to a high level of accuracy (not that it stopped them from being made).

    Being able to generate optics with surfaces which deviate from spherical is nothing new.
    Thanks. My readng suggests that Thomas Grubb was probably aware of Foucault's test when he built the Great Melbourne Telescope in 1866, but it was his son Howard who used 'a small amount of non-spherical figuring on one of the surfaces' when building Astrographic Telescope lenses in the 1880s working on the Carte du ciele' project apparently. I assume that this was a deliberate use of an aspheric surface. I am not sure of the accuracy to which his lenses were ground but from what information is available it appears that he was 'fastidious' to saythe least. Howard went on to make some photographic lenses but not many. It may turn out that he produced photographic lenses almost on a bespoke basis and there are a few anomalous ones amongst those known which are not in the lists of available lenses from his resellers. I'm just wondering whether he applied similar ideas to any of these? Both the Grubbs seem to have been optical experimenters and innovators.

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