Jesse Ramsden

Jesse Ramsden 1735 – 1800 was an English astronomical and scientific instrument maker of great reputation in London from the 1770s to the 1790s.  Ramsden created one of the first high-quality dividing engines and published a Description of an Engine for dividing Mathematical Instruments in 1777.  His transit instruments were the first to be illuminated through the hollow axis. He is also responsible for the achromatic eyepiece which named after him. He also worked on new designs of electrostatic generators. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1786.    In about 1785 Ramsden provided a new large theodolite for General William Roy, which was used in the survey of the distance between Greenwich, London and Paris. This work provided the basis for the subsequent Ordnance Survey of Britain. For his part with Roy in this work he received the Copley Medal in 1795. He died five years later at Brighton, England.

Dec. 2012                                               Last updated May 2015