Sunday, July 12, 2009

Viking lenses in a Stockholm Museum

Handled some-Viking age (11th century) optical lenses at the State Historical Museum in Stockholm. These are presumed to have come from Constantinople. I found that a couple of the lenses functioned very well, whilst others were completely ineffective.  It’s thought they may have been used as burning glasses or by goldsmiths. 

What led me there was curiosity about why the telescope wasn't invented until 1609.  I still haven't found an answer to this question.  If anything, the high quality of the big lens in the photo makes the mystery even deeper; but there again, I'm not really capable of assessing what’s a high quality lens and what isn't.