Juan Roget

Relatively little has been written on Girolamo Sirtori’s claim to have met the ‘first inventor’ of the telescope, Juan Roget of Burgundy, in Gerona. All the same, the following lists the current bibliography on the subject. As always, this is a work in progress, so please feel free to email me if you find any additional references. It would be fantastic if any of the primary sources (P2) to (P8) found by José Maria Simón de Guilleuma were scanned and/or transcribed and made available on the Internet: however fragmentary these are, they may well turn out to contain additional contextual material that is not immediately obvious, particularly (P4) and (P5).

Primary sources

(P1) Hieronymi Sirturi Mediolanensis [“Girolamo Sirtori of Milan”] Telescopium, sive Ars perficiendi novum illud Galilaei visorium instrumentum ad sydera. Frankfurt, P. Jacobi, 1618. The Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence has very kindly made a scanned copy of Sirtori’s Telescopium freely available on its website: the SLUB in Dresden has similarly placed a digital copy online.

(P2) Arxiu Històric de Protocols de Barcelona, Protocols notarials, XII.3, Francisco de Pedralbes, Inventarios – “ullera larga guarnida de lauto“, Pedro de Cardona, 10 April 1593.

(P3) Arxiu Històric de Protocols de Barcelona, Protocols notarials, XII.9, Francisco de Pedralbes, Inventarios – Maria de Cardona y de Eril, 13 December 1596.

(P4) Arxiu Històric de Protocols de Barcelona, Protocols notarials, XIII.8, Geronimo Gali, Inventarios – Jaime Galvany, “una ollera de llarga vista“, sold for 5 sueldos at auction on 5 September 1608.

(P5) Biblioteca de Catalunya [Barcelona], Manuals notarials, Man. Not. – 8º – 116, Miguel Axada, Inventarios – Honorato Graner, “una ullera de llauna per mirar de lluny“, 6 August 1613.

(P6) A. Catedral Bar, Esponsales 1553, no 55, fol. 3 – Pedro Roget’s marriage to Catalina Isern, 22 May 1559

(P7) A. Comunidad Santa Maria del Mar, Obitos 1589 a 90 – Catalina Isern, dying on 21 August 1589.

(P8) Biblioteca de Catalunya [Barcelona], Manuals notarials, Notario Juan de Encontra. Testamento de Pedro Roget ullerer.

Secondary literature

(S1) Albert Van Helden “The Invention of the Telescope” (1977), American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. Contains an English translation of the parts of Sirtori’s Telescopium related to Roget of Burgundy (pp.48-51).

(S2) Felipe Picatoste “Apuntes para una biblioteca científica española del siglo XVI: estudios biográficos y bibliográficos de ciencias exactas físicas y naturales y sus inmediatas aplicaciones en dicho siglo ” (1891). pp. 269-272 contains a Catalan translation of broadly the same section.

(S3) Rolf Willach translated much the same section in The Development of Lens Grinding and Polishing Techniques in the First Half of the 17th Century, Scientific Instruments Society (SIS) Bulletin #68 (2001).

(S4) José Maria Simón de Guilleuma, Juan Roget, Optico Espanol Inventor del Telescopio, pp. 708-712 in Actes du IXe Congres Internationsl d’Histoire des Sciences, Barcelona-Madrid 1-7 September 1959.

(S5) Nick Pelling, Who Invented the Telescope? pp.26-31 in History Today, Vol. 58 (10), October 2008. Available in online form in History Today’s archive (though the site requires [free] registration to see whole article).

Tertiary Literature

(T1) J. M. Lopez Pinero, V. Navarro Brotons, E. Portela Marco, Materiales para la historia de la ciencias en Espana, s. VI-XVII, Valencia, Pre-textos, 1976. pp. 43-44 reproduces a section of Picatoste’s Catalan translation [S2 above]

(T2) José Maria Simón de Guilleuma, Juan Roget, óptico gerundese, inventor del telescopio, y los Roget de Barcelona, constructores del mismo, in Boletin del Instituto Municipal de Barcelona, Boletín semanal no 775 de Divulgación Histórica del Instituto Municipal de Historia de la Ciudad”, broadcast on Radio Barcelona at 11.30pm on 19th October 1959. This was a late-night radio broadcast covering broadly the same material as (S4) above, though aimed at a far less specialist audience. A scan of the typed script is available from the Arxiu in Barcelona. Contact Alicia Torres Déniz ( atorresde@bcn.cat ), Reporgrafia i Noves tecnologies, Arxiu Històric de la Ciutat, C/ Santa Llúcia 1, 08002 Barcelona.

(T3) Annals de l’Institut d’Estudis Gironins, 1959 Vol.: 13, Notas bibliográficas begins with a review of (T2) by “S.S.V.” (presumably Santiago Sobrequés Vidal), with a few minor details that were not present in the radio broadcast.

4 thoughts on “Juan Roget

  1. Dr. James R. Pannozzi AP (ret) on November 29, 2015 at 7:34 am said:

    The Dresden SLUB link no longer works.

  2. Jim: thanks, I’ll try to fix it in the next few days.

    More generally, my “Broken Link Checker” plugin tells me I have more than 4000 broken links accumulated over the 7+ years I’ve been doing this. So the site really does need a bit of a major house clean. 🙁

  3. Jim: oops, I meant 433 broken links out of 5000+ links. Slip of the fingers. 🙁

  4. Cat Darensbourg on September 19, 2016 at 5:30 am said:

    When was Leuwenhoek’s work first made public? Anything earlier than that should be considered either with reverence or as suspect — because Leuwenhoek ground his own lenses in the time when glass was so valuable it could be traded for land (think Manhattan), and the glass blowers of Venice were under a luxury-life-sentence prison-island life-style.

    Start with the type of lense (Convex vs Concave) the amount of aluminum base it had in it (rarer than gold, and bauxite, common today, had to be chemically purified to give anything approaching clear glass) and the size (tiny vs several inches, which would need to be pulled from a slump mold cast — *not* blown — if it was blown, Leuwenhoek would have done his differently and had fantastically different results based on a taffy-styled distortion in the refraction)

    This is a job for the Corning Glass Museum Historeans in NY, assuming they could be moved from their ivory tower and be trusted to play fair. (They might discover a trade secret or two that they would be reluctant to part with even at this date . . .)

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