9 Annotations

First Reading

Warren Keith Wright  •  Link

Richard Reeve, or Reeves, of Long Acre, was the foremost fashioner of optical instruments between 1641 and 1679, and "perspective-glass maker to the King". This term probably signified a pair of binoculars, though it could also mean a telescope (which Pepys called simply "a glass"), or even a microscope.
In August 1664 Pepys will indeed purchase a microscope from him, "the best he knows in England, and he makes the best in the world." 5 pounds 10 shillings is "a great price," but Reeve throws in a Scotoscope, "and a curious curiosity it is to [see] objects in a dark room with." (Can others elaborate?)
"Young" Reeve, in the entry of 23 March 1659/60, would be Richard's son John, who took over the family business in 1679 and ran it until c. 1710.
(Companion entry and Glossary, plus the "Shorter Pepys.")

Grahamt  •  Link

It is easy to find out what it does: It allows one to see things clearly in a dimly lit room, but how it does it isn't clear, especially as this is centuries before photomultipliers and infra-red night scopes.
My theory is that it is like a telescope, probably with a magnification of one, but with a large objective lens. This would gather what light there was and concentrate it in the eyepiece.
An objective of focal length 1" (25mm) and diameter 2" (50mm) would have a light gathering power of f0.5 (=1"/2") and would thus deliver 4 times the light (twice the diameter = 4 times the light-gathering area) of an instrument where focal length and lens diameter were the same, or than the unaided eye, There would be some losses in the instrument, so this is approximate.
This would be a very simple, but maybe cumbersome, 2 or 3 lens instrument.
Are there any optical instrument specialists that know if this is how a scotoscope worked?

StewartMcI  •  Link

Scotoscope = Camera obscura
See below found online...

Volume 5 of the Latham and Matthews (1971) edition of Pepys' Diary identifies a scotoscope as a camera obscura.

Gerard L'E Turner has described it as a “rectangular box ... with a lens at one end in an adjustable tube, and a mirror set at a 45° angle to reflect light onto a horizontal groundglass screen”. The principle is the same as in a pinhole camera.

The instrument-makers of Pepys day called the device a scotoscope, using the prefix derived from the Greek skotos, meaning darkness. Scotopic vision is “vision which occurs at low illumination through the retinal rods” (Walker 1995).
Latham R and Matthews W eds 1971 The Diary of Samuel Pepys 5 p240 G Bell and Sons.

Susanna  •  Link


Lisa Jardine, in "Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution" describes the scotoscope (invented by Robert Hooke):

"He placed a light-condensing brine-filled globe between his lamp light-source and his specimen, then narrowly focused the lamp's intensified beams by means of a convex lens. By adjusting the relative positions of lamp, globe, and lens he found he could improve the magnified image of his subject considerably."

Richard Reeves was instrument-maker to Hooke, who promoted his lenses in his books.

Taylor  •  Link

An illustration of this can be found in Hookes 'Micrographia' 1665. It is an oil lamp whose light is concentrated on the microscope specimen by means of a fluid-filled glass sphere. Simple as that. I wouldn't be too sure that Hooke invented it. Reeves supplied Hook with microscopes and therefore quite probably the scotoscope to go with them.

Terry F  •  Link

Reeves, Richard fl.1641-89, Member of the Turners' Company; made microscopes and lenses for telescopes; worked for Hooke; made a spyglass, a microscope and a scotoscope for Samuel Pepys, 1661-64; made very long telescopes; perspective glass maker to the King; made James Gregory's prototype reflecting telescope. http://historydb.adlerplanetarium…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.