Charles A. Spencer
The American Journal of Microscopy, 1876
It is now more than forty years since Lister published those researches which led to the construction of the modern objective, and which were so ably applied by Andrew Ross. Scarcely, however, had Ross embodied the new discoveries in practice, ere a young American backwoodsman applied them with equal success, and even went a step beyond the limits assigned by Lister and Ross to possible achievement in this direction. When we use the term "backwoods", we employ no figurative expression, for at that time the chief cities of central New York were but villages, and proper materials for the manufacture of objectives were not to be found in that region. But, our young countryman, no way daunted by such difficulties, tried to make his own glass, and succeeded so well that whereas 135 degrees was the limit assigned by Ross to the possible angular aperture of objectives, he obtained an angle of 162 degrees, and soon acquired an enviable reputation on both continents. The young American optician was Charles A. Spencer, and we have rarely felt greater pleasure than when, a few days ago, we took him by the hand and welcomed him to our office. For the first time in many years, Mr. Spnecer has visited New York, bringing with him a number of lenses which show that his hand has not lost its cunning, nor has his intellect become dim with years. The number of real Spencer lenses in existence is comparatively small, for Spencer has always been an artist who made objectives, rather than a manufacturer who produced them in quantity. But, by the aid of his son, who promises to be a worthy successor, he now turns out a considerable number of glasses of various grades, his first class lenses taking rank with the best. His address is Geneva, New York.
We trust our readers will for once forgive us for introducing into these pages matters of commercial interest, but in this case we could not forbear saying a word in favor of one who has done so much for the art in America, and of whom the best amongst us are proud to claim that they are pupils.
© 1997, 1998, American Artifacts, Taneytown, MD.
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