Schwenter was born in Nuremberg. He was professor of oriental languages and mathematics at the University of Altdorf. This is achieved by a preface written by Schwenter in the book Kurtzer, gründtlicher, warhaffter, gebesserter und vermehrter Underricht, Zuberaitung und Gebrauch deß Circkels, Schregmeß und Linial from George Galgemair and by an old chronicle of the University of Altdorf.
His works include Delicia Physico-Mathematicae (Nuremberg, 1636) and Geometriae practicae novae et auctae tractatus I-IV (published posthumously in 1641). Among other topics, Geometriae practicae covers the art of baculometry - the measuring of inaccessible distances via staves.
Schwenter and the Scioptric Ball
He is credited with developing the scioptric ball in 1636. This is a universal joint that allows a microscope, mounted on the ball, to be swiveled into any position. Its invention was inspired by Schwenter's studies of the human eye. The scioptric ball provided a firm anchor for a microscope or telescope while allowing the telescope to be swiveled in all directions in order to follow the course of an eclipse or for drawing panoramic views. It was in some ways the first wide-angle lens.
Schwenter and the Fountain Pen
Schwenter did not invent the fountain pen, but in 1636, in his Delicia Physic-Mathematicae, he described a pen made from two quills. One quill served as a reservoir for ink inside the other quill. The ink was sealed inside the quill with cork. Ink was squeezed through a small hole to the writing point.
- Ralf Kern: Wissenschaftliche Instrumente in ihrer Zeit. Volume 2. Cologne, 2010. pp. 276-277.
- (in English) Portrait of Daniel Schwenter
- (in English) Another Portrait
- (in English) The Camera Obscura
- (in English) Fountain Pen History
- (in English) Scioptric Ball
- (in English) Picture of an 18th century scioptric ball
- (in English) Plates from Geometriae practicae novae et auctae tractatus
- Deliciae physico-mathematicae, Volume 1
- Deliciae physico-mathematicae, Volume 2
- Deliciae physico-mathematicae, Volume 3