BornStraubing, (Bavaria, Germany), 6 March 1787
DiedMunich, (Germany), 7 June 1826
von Fraunhofer, Joseph. Courtesy of History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries, Small Portraits Collection
Joseph Fraunhofer was in his day the leading producer of major telescope objectives, his testing of which led to his discovery of the Fraunhofer lines in the solar spectrum. He was the 11th and final child of the master glazier Franz Xaver Fraunhofer, whose own father Johann Michael had also been a master glassmaker in Straubing. The family of his mother, Maria Anna Frohlich, also included generations of glassmakers.
At age 11, Fraunhofer was left an orphan when both parents died within a year’s time. He was sent to Munich as an apprentice to the court mirror maker and glasscutter Weichselberger, who restrained the ambitious boy from education outside the narrow confines of his training. On 21 July 1801, Weichselberger’s house and w...