Johannes Hudde and His Flameworked Microscope Lenses

Bolt, M., T. Cocquyt, and M. Korey
Journal of Glass Studies
60, pp. 207-222
Corning: Corning Museum of Glass


Although Antoni van Leeuwenhoek has rightly earned his reputation as the founder of microbiology and the maker of fine simple microscopes, it was a contemporaneous and largely unknown mid-17th century politician whose lenses prompted van Leeuwenhoek's work. In fact, Johannes Hudde's flameworked globular lenses inspired numerous Dutch scholars to explore the tiny worlds to which these lenses provided high-magnification access. These lenses were easily and quickly made, requiring little training or expertise, as the authors themselves demonstrate. They explore the origins and contexts of Hudde's lenses, and compare their performance to that of van Leeuwenhoek's more famous examples. Along the way, they assess the optical properties of flameworked and ground lenses in light of the tasks they were targeted to address, and identify an expected setting for the emergence of Hudde's flameworked, rather than ground, lenses.