How to murder your wife and get away with it: First become a famous successful telescope maker.

As part of my long-term project to learn about the history of (reflecting) telescopes I recently read a paper on Robert Hooke’s involvement in early attempts to grind and polish parabolic telescope mirrors. During my reading I was amused by the following comment about Richard Reeve who was the leading maker of lenses for telescopes and microscopes in London around 1660.

By this time Richard Reeve had died. His business had been disrupted in 1664 when he was arrested for killing his wife and his goods confiscated. The court proceedings were dropped when he secured a Royal pardon, but the financial cost was clearly considerable.[1]

It seems you can get away with almost anything if you make telescopes for the king.


[1] A. C. D. Simpson, Robert Hooke and Practical Optics: Technical Support at a Scientific Frontier, in Michael Hunter & Simon Schaffer eds., Roert Hooke: New Studies, The Boydell Press, 1989, pp 33 – 61 quote p 47

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5 Comments

Filed under History of Optics, Quotations

5 responses to “How to murder your wife and get away with it: First become a famous successful telescope maker.

  1. Wow. I wonder what someone who’d mastered achromatic lenses could have got way with.

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