THE SECRET OF THE WATCHMAKER


A modest watchmaker lived in Switzerland, and his name was Pierre-Louis Ginan. Looking at his puny figure and expressionless eyes, it was hard to think that he was capable of doing anything significant. Meanwhile, it was this man who turned out to be the ancestor of optical glass.

 At the Factory of Optical Glass
At the Factory of Optical Glass

 After all, ordinary glass is not clean enough for such responsible work! Let's take a closer look at him: here is a small dark dot. You can’t wash it off, you can’t scrub it, it’s inside the glass. And here is a bubble, strip, scratch...

And for the manufacture of lenses, glass is to be so clean and transparent that it is difficult to even pick up anything in nature for comparison. If we talk about the water of a spring - and that will be inaccurate.

Only rock crystal has the purest transparency that is achieved in the manufacture of optical glass. After all, lenses inserted into a telescope or microscope help a person to look into a world that is not visible with a simple eye.

For several centuries, glassmakers sought to obtain a glass in which there would be no spots, no stripes, or bubbles. Chemists made a variety of recipes for glass melting.

Optical Glass
Optical Glass

They added lead oxide and received clear, clear crystal-glass; they replaced lead oxide with boric and phosphoric acid, introduced zinc oxide, arsenic, antimony...

All this really gave the glass greater transparency. But the bubbles...

But in 1811, new lenses appeared on sale. And what surprised everyone was their size. New lenses were four times larger than before. But this is not enough. They were transparent, they had no stripes, no dots and there were almost no bubbles. It turned out that the secret to creating these lenses was not discovered by a chemist, not a glass specialist, but by some Swiss watchmaker named Pierre-Louis Ginan. And he did not want to reveal his secret to anyone.

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