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Johann Zahn

1641 — 1707

Johann Zahn, was inducted into the Silver Hall of Fame, not for his use of silver, but for his studies related to light and his interests in the production of the camera obscura, (latin for dark chamber.) Zahn, a German priest, was the author of Oculus Artificialis Teledioptricus Sive Telescopium. This book has many illustrations and sketches of both the camera obscura and magic lantern, along with various other lanterns, slides, projection types, peepshow boxes, microscopes, telescopes, reflectors, and lenses.

The camera obscura was a darkened room with a small hole or lens at one side though which an image was protected onto a wall or table opposite the hole. Zahn eventually designed one that was 23 inches long and capable of enlarging and focussing images with the assistance of mirrors. In 1685, he proposed a design for the first handheld reflex camera. He also illustrated a large workshop camera obscura for solar observations using the telescope and scioptric ball.

Ahead of his time, it would take another 150 years before Zahn's inventions, with the use of silver, created photography.

Last Updated on: 2024-02-28