eye-glass maker from Middelburg, one Hans Lipperhey, presented a request
for a patent to the States General of Holland in 1608 for a new optical
instrument. A convex lens (for long-sightedness) and a concave lens (for
short-sightedness), mounted at the ends of a tube about a foot long made
far off objects appear up to three times larger. Unfortunately for Lipperhey,
within a few days, other spectacle makers were taking credit for the invention,
The instrument spread rapidly through Europe, eliciting curiosity and conflicting opinions about its utility. Who would have thought that this object, once perfected, would help reawaken the debate on heliocentric cosmology within a few months, or become the mainstay of modern astronomy.