Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/760
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
of eleven years, when he was bound out as apprentice to a glass-cutter in Munich, who was very exacting of him in the way and time of his work.
|FRAUNHOFER'S LINES IN THE SOLAR SPECTRUM.|
The young apprentice, however, without any instructor, found means, in what little time he had to himself, to make up as well as he could the deficiencies of his education, and made great progress in mathematics, besides getting a knowledge of astronomy. From this station he owed his elevation to an accident when nineteen years old. Working himself out unhurt from an old tumble-down house which fell in on him, he became a sort of neighborhood hero, attracting the attention of some gentlemen of wealth and rank who took an interest in the apprentice whom they found trying to cultivate the sciences in such adverse circumstances. They brought him to the notice of and introduced him to the celebrated Reichenbach, who gave him a place as optician in his great establishment for the construction of mathematical and philosophical instruments at Benedictbaiern, near Munich. He found here ample scope for the exercise of his talents, and could now study optics as a science. He soon distinguished himself by his inventive genius and the skill he displayed in the execution of the processes which he was employed upon. The advantages which he enjoyed he turned to account in making many important experiments in light, and constructing superior instruments for astronomical observations. His discoveries greatly increased the reputation of the establishment, of which he finally became the proprietor himself. He made the best crown-glass for achromatic optical instruments, and invented a heliometer, micrometer, and many other scientific contrivances. The celebrated equatorial telescope in the Russian observatory at Dorpat was made by him. In 1819 he moved his great establishment to Munich, and continued his work there till his death, which occurred June 7, 1826, soon after entering upon the fortieth year of his age. He was a member of the University of Erlangen, and of the Royal Academy of Sciences