Thomas Rudolphus Dallmeyer

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Thomas Rudolphus Dallmeyer
Thomas Rudolphus Dallmeyer 001.jpg
Born(1859-05-16)16 May 1859
Died 25 December 1906(1906-12-25) (aged 47)
Nationality British
Education Mill Hill School
Occupation optics

Thomas Rudolphus Dallmeyer (16 May 1859 – 25 December 1906), [1] English optician, was the son of John Henry Dallmeyer who ran an optics business. His maternal grandfather, Andrew Ross, was himself the first English photographic optician. [1]

Optics The branch of physics that studies light

Optics is the branch of physics that studies the behaviour and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics usually describes the behaviour of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light. Because light is an electromagnetic wave, other forms of electromagnetic radiation such as X-rays, microwaves, and radio waves exhibit similar properties.

John Henry Dallmeyer optician

John Henry Dallmeyer, Anglo-German optician, was born at Loxten, Westphalia, the son of a landowner.



After attending other schools, Thomas enrolled at Mill Hill School where he came under the tutelage of Dr. J.A.H. Murray who is best known as an editor of the Oxford English Dictionary . After leaving school, he entered his father's optometry business, while learning the theoretical side from Oliver Lodge. [1]

Mill Hill School

Mill Hill School is a 13–18 mixed independent, day and boarding school in Mill Hill, London, England that was established in 1807. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

<i>Oxford English Dictionary</i> Premier historical dictionary of the English language

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press. It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as describing usage in its many variations throughout the world. The second edition, comprising 21,728 pages in 20 volumes, was published in 1989.

Oliver Lodge British physicist

Sir Oliver Joseph Lodge, was a British physicist and writer involved in the development of, and holder of key patents for, radio. He identified electromagnetic radiation independent of Hertz' proof and at his 1894 Royal Institution lectures, Lodge demonstrated an early radio wave detector he named the "coherer". In 1898 he was awarded the "syntonic" patent by the United States Patent Office. Lodge was Principal of the University of Birmingham from 1900 to 1920.

When Thomas was twenty-one, his father went on a long voyage to recuperate from overwork but died during the journey. Thomas took over and not only maintained the reputation of the lenses his father had designed but he continually improved them and added new patterns. Among his principal inventions was the first practical telephoto lens (patented 1891) which he afterwards elaborated into many special forms for various purposes, a rapid landscape lens, a rectilinear landscape lens, some of the earliest rapid lenses made with lenses from Jena, Germany, and the Adon and Junior Adon telephoto lenses. He also invented the Naturalist's Camera for which he received the medal of the Royal Photographic Society. He also designed the Dallmeyer-Bergen lens, [Note 1] which was the prototype of the anachromatic lenses. [1] It was suggested by a painter, J.S. Bergheim, who wished for a lens which would give him correct drawing and soft definition without sacrificing the natural structure of the original. [2]

Jena Place in Thuringia, Germany

Jena is a German university city and the second largest city in Thuringia. Together with the nearby cities of Erfurt and Weimar, it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with approximately 500,000 inhabitants, while the city itself has a population of about 110,000. Jena is a centre of education and research; the Friedrich Schiller University was founded in 1558 and had 18,000 students in 2017 and the Ernst-Abbe-Fachhochschule Jena counts another 5,000 students. Furthermore, there are many institutes of the leading German research societies.

Royal Photographic Society organization

The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, commonly known as the Royal Photographic Society (RPS), is one of the world's oldest photographic societies. It was founded in London, England, in 1853 as The Photographic Society of London with the objective of promoting the art and science of photography, and in 1854 received Royal patronage from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. A change to the society's name to reflect the Royal patronage was, however, not considered expedient at the time. In 1874 it was renamed the Photographic Society of Great Britain, and from 1894 it became known as The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain. A registered charity since 1962, in July 2004, The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain was granted a Royal charter recognising its eminence in the field of photography as a learned society. For most of its history the Society was based at various premises in London. It moved to Bath in 1979, and since 2004 its headquarters has been at Fenton House in Bath, England. Membership is international and open to anyone with an interest in photography.

He was the author of a standard book on the subject of telephoto lenses, Telephotography (1899). [3] He served as president of the Royal Photographic Society in 1900-1903.

He married Julia Fanny Thomas (d. 26 September 1936), daughter of Charles Thomas Lt 54 Bengal Infantry, on 13 January 1886.


  1. "The Dallmeyer-Bergen portrait lens is a simple telephoto composed of a single uncorrected lens, and the softness of definition is regulated by the diaphragm which is in front of all the glasses. It gives beautiful soft-focus effects without having to move the camera."
    American Photography, Vol. 15, (1921) p.558

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  1. 1 2 3 4 "Obituary; Thomas Rudolphus Dallmeyer" (1907) The Photographic Journal, Vol. 31, pp. 20–21, Royal Photographic Society, London
  2. American Photography, Vol. 15, (1921) p. 74
  3. Thomas Rudolphus Dallmeyer (1899) Telephotography: an elementary treatise on the construction, and application of the telephotographic lens, William Heinemann, London


Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Dallmeyer, John Henry". Encyclopædia Britannica . 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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<i>Encyclopædia Britannica</i> Eleventh Edition 11th edition of Encyclopædia Britannica

The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–11) is a 29-volume reference work, an edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. It was developed during the encyclopaedia's transition from a British to an American publication. Some of its articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time. This edition of the encyclopedia, containing 40,000 entries, is now in the public domain, and many of its articles have been used as a basis for articles in Wikipedia. However, the outdated nature of some of its content makes its use as a source for modern scholarship problematic. Some articles have special value and interest to modern scholars as cultural artifacts of the 19th and early 20th centuries.