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Baruch de Spinoza (1632 - 1677)

Field(s) of interest: Natural philosophy | Optics | scientific instruments
Gender: male

Born: Amsterdam, 24-11-1632
Died: Den Haag, 21-02-1677

Natural philosopher in the seventeenth century Dutch Republic. From the early 1660s onwards he worked as an optical instrument maker. in September 1661 Spinoza was for the first time mentioned as a lens grinder in the diary of Olaus Borrichius. T. Kerckring had a microscope made by Spinoza. A German inventory of the scientific instruments in the estate of the late Duke Ernst of Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg (1601-1675), described a telescope of Spinoza as “a Dutch tube, made by Spinoza, with seven green draw tubes, containing five glasses, and covered with black embossed leather, in a black casing”. However Spinoza’s own estate mentions among his tools only “some glass and plated iron pipes for the construction of his telescopes”. As the German description fits the contemporary appearance of local German telescopes, it seems probable that the German Duke had put Spinoza’s lenses in a tube made by a local German craftsman.

optical instrument maker: 1661 - 1663 (Rijnsburg)

optical instrument maker: 1663 - 1669 (Voorburg)

optical instrument maker: 1669 - 1677 (Den Haag)

Klever, W. N. A. & J. Van Zuylen, “Insignis Opticus. Spinoza in de geschiedenis van de optica”, De Zeventiende Eeuw 6 (1990), pp. 47–63.