Subscribe to e-news

Social networks


This project is funded by the European Commission. The content is the responsibility of the author and in no way represents the views of the European Commission.

VOIGTLÄNDER, Peter Wilhelm Friedrich

* 10. 8. 1812, Vienna, Austria
† 7. 4. 1878, Braunschweig, Germany

Optical manufacturer, entrepreneur

After the completion of the bourgeois and folk schools V., the son of Viennese optician and mechanic, submitted to family tradition and continued to learn in his father's workshop, established in 1756. Meanwhile he, starting in1826, gained theoretical knowledge at the Polytechnic Institute in Vienna. After completion of training and study he went on a long journey across Europe. When he returned, he in 1834 exhibited a »steam powered car« at the Vienna Prater, which attracted much attention as 15.000 visitors were prepared to pay to see it. When daguerreotype began its winning march outside of France in 1839, a long illumination time proved to be the greatest weakness of this early photographic process. In the same year the Hungarian mathematician Jozef Maximilian→ Petzval began working on calculations of the photographic lens with higher illumination output. With the intervention of the Viennese professor of physics and mathematics Andreas von Ettingshaus (1796-1878), the 27-year-old optician V. won the contract for the technical implementation of the lens. He also dealt with the calculation in relation to the necessary glass. Already in May 1840 the first Voigtländer → Petzval’s computed photographic portrait lens was made. It was composed of four lenses which formed two widely separated pairs. This structure consisted of achromatic front I (dual lens) connected with two different rear ends II and III. Parts I and II formed the world-renowned → Petzval's portrait lens. Following this plan, V. constructed an "Experimental lens", which was first installed on a simple conical cardboard camera. This new portrait lens had a sensational light intensity of 1:3, 7 and it reduced the illumination time to 15 minutes and 45 seconds. At the end of 1840 he went a step further and developed the first metal camera in the world. This handy table apparatus, made of brass, went on sale in January 1841. According to company notes, 600 cameras were sold by 1842. As the company "V. & Sohn" opened up its agencies in many places of the old and new world, it soon reached such a scale that it was necessary to establish another plant. For economic reasons, V. wanted to establish a new factory in Germany. He chose the city of Braunschweig, his second wife’s hometown. In 1849 he moved to Braunschweig, keeping the Vienna plant to a deserving colleague Anton Friedrich. When he died in 1868, V. decided to close the Vienna plant. In the 1860s the "V. & Sohn "company experienced its culmination. Due to that they could celebrate the production of ten thousandth lens in Braunschweig in 1862. Among many V.’s foundations, Foundation to support the photography was most notable. It was supported by Austrian photographic society with annual contribution of 200 guilders. V. received a Franc Josef medal for the merits in Austrian economy and industry by the Emperor Franz Joseph in 1866. He was also ennobled by the Austrian Emperor two years later. V. married twice and had four sons and two daughters. In 1896, two years before his death, he was already very ill. He handed over the company to his oldest son Friederich Wilhelm the knight Voigtländer (1846-1924).

24. 05. 2011 - Opening of CESA in Košice

On 25th May, 2011 we will open the Central European Science Adventure in Slovak Technical Museum in Košice. The game will be accessible for school groups till 30th June. For more info ...

More >>

20. 04. 2011 - Opening of CESA in Budapest

On 4th May, 2011 we will open the Central European Science Adventure in Magyar Műszaki és Közlekedési Múzeum in Budapest. The game will be accessible for school groups ...

More >>

Izdelava spletnih strani:  Positiva