Richard Reeve

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Richard Reeve (fl. 1640 – 1680) was an instrument-maker in London in the 17th century. He worked with Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. His son was also Richard Reeve (fl. 1680).

Reeve's "telescopes and microscopes had a worldwide reputation for accuracy. Hooke worked with him in a technical advisory capacity".[1] Richard Reeve, or Reeves, of Long Acre, was the foremost fashioner of optical instruments between 1641 and 1679, and "perspective-glass maker to the King".[2]

He was James Gregory's optician.[3] In August 1664 Pepys purchased a microscope from him, "the best he knows in England, and he makes the best in the world." 5 pounds 10 shillings is "a great price," but Reeve throws in a Scotoscope (camera obscura), "and a curious curiosity it is to [see] objects in a dark room with."[4]


Reeve's son, also an instrument maker[citation needed] was known as Richard Reeve Jr (fl. 1680). The man referred to as "Young" Reeve in Pepys' entry of 23 March 1659/60, would be the older Richard's son John, who took over the family business in 1679 and ran it until about 1710.[5] The older Richard was arrested in 1664 for murdering his wife, but secured a royal pardon, probably at great cost.[6]


  1. ^ Jardine, Lisa (2000). Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution. Abacus. p. 368. ISBN 978-0349113050. 
  2. ^ *A. D. C. Simpson (1985): "Richard Reeve, the English Campani, and the Origins of the London Telescope-Making Tradition in Longitude Zero 1884–1984. Proceedings of an International Symposium Held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, 9–13 July 1984 to Mark the Centenary of the Adoption of the Greenwich Meridian." Vistas in Astronomy. An International Review Journal, Oxford, 28 (1–2) pp. 357–65 [1]
  3. ^ Morrison-Low, A.D. (2007). Making scientific instruments in the Industrial Revolution. Ashgate Publishing. p. 139. ISBN 9780754657583. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Richard Reeve Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  5. ^ (Companion entry and Glossary, plus the "Shorter Pepys.")
  6. ^ Retrieved 27 July 2017.]