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British Industrial History

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John Henry Dallmeyer

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John Henry Dallmeyer (1830-1883), founder of J. H. Dallmeyer

1830 September 6th. Born at Loxten, Westphalia, the son of Henry William Dallmeyer, a landowner.

1846 On leaving school at the age of sixteen, he was apprenticed to an Osnabruck optician.

1851 He arrived in London, where he obtained work with an optician, W. Hewitt, who shortly afterwards, with his workmen, entered the employment of Andrew Ross, a lens and telescope manufacturer.

His position in this workshop may have been an unpleasant one, and led him to take, for a time, employment as French and German correspondent for a commercial firm. After a year he was, however, re-engaged by Ross as scientific adviser, and was entrusted with the testing and finishing of the highest class of optical apparatus.

1854 December 7th. Married in Holborn to Hannah Ross (second daughter of Andrew Ross) and inherited, at Ross's death (1859), of a third of his employer's large fortune and the telescope manufacturing portion of the business.

1859 Birth of son Thomas Rudolphus Dallmeyer

Turning from astronomical work to the making of photographic lenses, he introduced improvements in both portrait and landscape lenses, in object-glasses for the microscope and in condensers for the optical lantern.

1863 In connection with celestial photography, he constructed photo-heliographs for the Wilna observatory in 1863, for the Harvard College Observatory in 1864, and, in 1873, several for the British government.

Dallmeyer's instruments achieved a wide success in Europe and America, taking the highest awards at various international exhibitions. The Russian government gave him the order of St Stanislaus, and the French government made him chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

He was, for many years, on the councils of both the Royal Astronomical and Royal Photographic societies.

c1880 John Henry Dallmeyer was advised to give up the personal supervision of his workshops, and to travel for his health.

1883 Died while on a cruise off the coast of New Zealand, being lost overboard, presumed drowned, on 30 December.

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