Sir David Brewster

Sir David Brewster (1781 - 1868) was born in Jedburgh in Scotland. Brewster graduated from the University of Edinburgh. He quickly became interested in optics. Brewster became famous for his invention of Kaleidoscope. Brewster was a member of the Royal Society of London, but also an honorary member of the Imperial St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 1849 Brewster designed a simple and convenient instrument for viewing stereographs which would consist of two 2D images placed side-by-side. An instrument like this was made for him in Britain, but Brewster was not able in his words "to induce opticians, both in London and Birmingham... to construct the lenticular stereoscope, and photographers to execute binocular pictures for it...".

Brewster then turned to the French. In 1850 he visited Paris and with the help of Abbé Moigno, French mathematician and physicist, got acquainted with François Soleil, Parisian optician and his son-in-law Jules Duboscq, who just took over the optical business of Soleil. Brewster wrote about this encounter as follows:

"These gentlemen saw at once the value of the instrument, not merely as one of amusement, but as an important auxiliary in the arts of portraiture and sculpture. M. Duboscq immediately began to make the lenticular stereoscope for sale, and executed a series of the most beautiful binocular Daguerreotypes of living individuals, statues, bouquets of flowers, and objects of natural history, which thousands of individuals flocked to examine and admire...".

The next year, during the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, Queen Victoria showed interest in the stereoscope manufactured by Duboscq to the design of Brewster. Before the closing of the Exhibition Brewster presented the Queen with a stereoscope made by Duboscq specially for her.

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