CHESTER MOOR HALL

 

Chester Moor Hall, was the only son of Jehu Hall and Martha Bittridge. The Halls originally came from Stepney but through marriage with the Chesters and Moors of Leigh they came to settle in Leigh, where Chester was born in 1703.

 

The 18th Century produced many technical improvements, not least the microscope, though the images it provided were blurred with colourful haloes around the objects.

 

Any substance which can bend light (i.e., the glass in a lens) will bend light of different colours by slightly different amounts. The solution to this problem came in the 1730s when Chester Moor Hall, a barrister, noticed that the newly created Flint Glass seemed to disperse the colours more than the normal Crown Glass did at the same magnification. His decided that if he used a concave lens of Flint Glass right after the Crown Glass he could pull the different colours back into alignment without losing all of the magnification of the first lens.

 

And so the achromatic lens was born.

 

Realising the importance of his discovery and to keep it under wraps he contracted with two different optical shops to make the two lens, but unfortunately both shops sub contracted the work to the same lens maker who put two and two together.

 

Chester never publicised his invention or took out a patent which 20 years latr allowed John Dolland (later Dolland and Aitchison), on meeting the lens maker, to create the lens himself and take out a patent.

 

This caused a stir amongst telescope makers who now had to pay royalties to Dolland and knowing of Chester's earlier experiments they disputed Dolland's patent rights through the courts.

 

Unfortunately for Chester they lost, the Judge stating that 'It is not the person who has locked up his invention in his scritoire that ought to profit by a patent for such an invention, but he who brought it forth for the benefit of the public'.

 

Chester died at New Hall, Sutton in 1771. His monument in Sutton Church says 'He was a judicious lawyer, an able mathematician, a polite scholar, a sincere friend and a magistrate of the strictest integrity'.

 

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