Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Dollond and Co

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1908.Letter to Mather and Crowther.

Dollond and Company, optical and scientific instrument maker, of London

1750 Peter Dollond opened a small optical business in Vine Street, Hatton Garden, under his father's guidance

1752 The business was sufficiently successful that John Dollond, Peter's father, gave up silk weaving and went into partnership with his son in the optical business.

1758 John Dollond obtained a patent on a compound lens for refracting telescopes which was free of both chromatic and spherical aberration. He communicated his results to the Royal Society. The lenses were described as achromatic, a term said to have been coined by Dr John Bevis. Although there was a dispute as to who had first invented the achromatic lens, Dollond certainly devised a quicker and simpler method of correcting the spherical aberration of lenses, as well as a method of measuring the lenses so that batches could be matched and achromatic doublet lenses reliably produced, thereby bringing the achromatic lens to market.

1759 J. Dollond and Son opened a shop in the Strand

1761 John Dollond was appointed optician to George III and the Duke of York

1764-8 After his father's death, Peter defended the patent and established his rights to the benefits of the patent, which created a precedent in case law on patents.

1766 Peter went into partnership with his younger brother, John. They went onto supply optical instruments for Captain Cook and for Hadley.

1781 Peter Dollond made bifocal spectacles

1804 John died

1805 Peter Dollond took his nephew George Huggins into partnership; Huggins changed his name by licence to Dollond. The trading name of the business remained P. and J. Dollond.

1819 George Dollond took over the company .

1820 Peter and George were jointly made opticians to George IV.

1800s Dollonds sold the Camera Lucida, a drawing aid patented in 1806 by William Hyde Wollaston and manufactured by the Dollonds; and the Camera Obscura.

1851 Dollonds were awarded a medal at the Great Exhibition for instruments for recording meteorological information on a strip of paper[1].

1852 The younger George succeeded to the family business on his uncle's death; following the family tradition, he too adopted the surname Dollond.

1866 When the second George Dollond died, the firm was taken over by his son, William (1834–1893).

1871 William Dollond became too ill to continue working; he sold the firm to J. R. Chant, a former employee, who retained the trading name of Dollond.

Early 20th century Dollonds sold film cameras.

1927 the firm was acquired by James Aitchison, to become Dollond and Aitchison, after which it concentrated increasingly on prescription spectacles.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1851 Great Exhibition: Official Catalogue: Class X.: George Dollond
  • History of Dollond and Aitchison [1]
  • Biography of Dollond family, ODNB [2]
  • Camerapedia