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Volume 27, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0032-1400


In 1824, the British government sought to keep pace with continental advances in optical glass manufacture by funding research into the area. Faraday was put in charge of the experimental investigation and he relied heavily on platinum for vessels and instruments. Throughout the researches he was aided by William Hyde Wollaston, who manufactured and supplied the platinum initially used.


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  1. Professor Struve, “Farther Account of the large Achromatic Refracting Telescope of Fraunhofer in the Observatory of Dorpat”, Edinb. J. Sci., 1826, 5, 110; emphasis in the original [Google Scholar]
  2. Herschel Mr., and Smith Mr. “Observations on the Relative Performances of Achromatic and Reflecting Telescopes”, Edinb. J. Sci., 1826, 4, 310 [Google Scholar]
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  5. Op. cit., (Ref. 3), 176178
  6. Ibid., 180
  7. Faraday M. “On the manufacture of Glass for optical purposes”, Phil. Trans., 1830, 120, 2 [Google Scholar]
  8. Ibid., 3
  9. Ibid., 157
  10. Ibid., 10
  11. Ibid., 17
  12. Ibid., 34
  13. Ibid., 3738
  14. Wollaston MSS, Cambridge University Library, notebook D, 8385
  15. Ibid., 86
  16. Op. cit., (Ref. 14), loose sheet in notebook F
  17. Ibid.
  18. Op. cit., (Ref. 14), a second loose sheet in notebook F
  19. Op. cit., (Ref. 7), 19
  20. For a discussion of this criticism, see M. C. Usselman, “William Wollaston, John Johnson and Columbian Alluvial Platina: a Study in Restricted Industrial Enterprise”, Ann. Sci., 1980, 37, 264265 [Google Scholar]
  21. Royal Society Journal Book, entry for Dec. 1, 1828; also published in Phil. Mag., 1829, 5, 73 [Google Scholar]
  22. McDonald D., and Hunt L. B. “A History of Platinum and its Allied Metals”, Johnson Matthey, London, 1982, 204 [Google Scholar]
  23. Op. cit., (Ref. 3), 189

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