The human eye might seem like a useful tool, but this organ’s visual capacity actually is quite limited. However, there are many instances when we need to view tiny objects or objects that are far away, so humans have developed a myriad of optical instruments to aid this process.
From simple devices such as a magnifying glass to complex theodolites, optical instruments have helped us explore our world, advance scientific theory; improve industrial production and much more. Here’s a quick look at just a few optical instruments that have made the world a better place.
The word “telescope,” like so many of our words is derived from the Greek language. The “tele” portion of the word basically means far, while scope comes from the word skeptesthai, which means to look at. The first telescope was patented in 1608 by German-Dutch eyeglass maker Hans Lippershey, however there were several other individuals also developing this technology at the same time.
The following year, in fact, Galileo Galilei heard about these new inventions and immediately created one of his own, even though he had never seen one up close and in person. While the earliest inventors used the telescope as a way to view distant objects, it would be Galileo who first had the thought to use these optical instruments to view celestial objects.
Of course, today there are many different types of telescopes. At Warren Knight, we sell a variety of telescopic instruments, including alignment telescopes, wye telescopes and boresight telescopes. We also sell high-quality binoculars, an optical instrument that includes two telescopes fitted together, although you might not immediately think about telescopes when using binoculars.
While telescopes help us view distant objects, microscopes help use view the tiniest ones. The world’s most powerful microscope, which is an electron microscope, can be used to study atomic structure. Because of these optical instruments, we also have made huge advances in medical science, such as with the study of cells. Of course, microscopes also provide students with the ability to study plant and animal structures at the cellular level.
We’ve all seen theodolites, but we probably didn’t actually know it at the time. Surveyors and engineers use these devices to help them conduct road and construction surveys quite often. These optical instruments are capable of measuring angles in the horizontal plane and the vertical plane with impressive accuracy. These tasks help us build and maintain safe roads, allow us to check the integrity of bridges and ensure that buildings and homes are constructed on level ground. These are just a few of the benefits people enjoy because of theodolites.
Theodolites, however, are not just used for surveying and construction tasks, they also can be an excellent tool for a meteorologist or as a navigational aid. At Warren Knight, we offer several meteorological theodolites as well as electronic theodolite systems and an observation theodolite.
For instance, our WK-20-8400 Pilot Balloon Theodolite can be used to measure the angles of elevation and azimuth of pilot and weather balloons. These optical instruments also can be used to measure these angles in relation to aircraft, ships or other moving objects as far as 20,000 meters or greater, depending on visibility. We also produce a telemetering theodolite and an observation theodolite. The WK-20-8350 Telemetering Theodolite can be used for the calibration of navigational aids such as TACAN and VORTAC.
In addition to the Warren Knight products detailed in this article, we sell a wide range of optical instruments, leveling equipment, boresights, clinometers and everything else you might need to keep your world level and aligned. If you need a custom design, we can transform just about any product so that it meets your unique specifications.