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How 17th century scientists made pinholes?

  1. Jul 24, 2011 #1
    I am highly curious about how did 17th century scientists like Fresnel, Fraunhofer, etc. made optical equipment such as gratings, pinholes, etc.?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2011 #2


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    Make your own pinhole:
    Take a piece of aluminum foil. Poke a pin through it. You have a pinhole.

    Make a grating:
    Coat a piece of glass with soot. Take a straight edge and with a thin razor, draw consecutive parrallel lines on the soot.

    It might be how those guys did it but do not quote me on it.
  4. Jul 24, 2011 #3


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    Fresnel and Fraunhofer were both early 19th century physicists, not 17th.

    "In 1785 Rittenhouse made perhaps the first diffraction grating using 50 hairs between two finely threaded screws, with an approximate spacing of about 100 lines per inch. This was roughly the same technique that Joseph von Fraunhofer used in 1821 for his wire diffraction grating." -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Rittenhouse

    Photography dates back to ca. 1830, which is not much later than Fresnel and Fraunhofer. I don't know, but I would guess that once photography came along, they started using optical reduction to make gratings.

    Interesting stuff here about natural diffraction gratings: http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/2/2/1.full
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