Talk:Joseph Petzval

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Pjacobi asked about some details on him in Hungarian. Here you are. I try to translate some info back to the article but not right now.


--grin 18:38, 2004 Jul 27 (UTC)

de:User:Juro has done a fine job of extending the bio in german (de:Josef Maximilian Petzval), using sources above and sources in Slovak. I plan to do the translation to en, but it will take some time. If anybody is interested in starting the translation, don't hesitate. Pjacobi 09:09, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • I pulled this from the article. It was attempted to be commented out, so I put it here. Amalas 16:20, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Jozef Maximilián Petzval (also Josef Maximilian Petzval and Petzvál József Miksa) (6 January 180717 September 1891)

Petzval was born in Spišská Belá (German: Zipser Bela, Hungarian: Szepesbéla), Kingdom of Hungary (now in Slovakia), he died in Vienna, Austria. He was an ethnic Slovak, but due to his strong ties to Budapest, he is often counted as Hungarian. In what way was he slovak? No serious source says so. Father was probably Moravian, but that is not slovak. Finnish are related to hungarians but are not hungarians. Sibelius is NOT a hungarian composer!Sibelius is a Finno-ugrian composer, but not a hungarian. What is your logical problem? What definitely matters is that Petzval considered himself hungarian. Sibelius considered himself finnish. Am I wrong? Petzval studied and later lectured at the University of Pest (part of the later Budapest). In 1837 he accepted a chair of mathematics at the University of Vienna.

Petzval is most well known for the construction of the Petzval portrait lens, an optical design still in use 150 years after its invention. He did extensive work on aberration in optical systems, some key topics were later named after him:

In mathematics he worked on applications of the Laplace transform.

In 1957, the Joseph Petzval Award was founded for his memory in Hungary, to award achievements in optics, acoustics, film and video technology, precision mechanics, photochemistry, and theatre technology. There exists a Joseph Petzval Medal as well.

Hi! I'm writing the hungarian version of the Joseph Petzval site, its here. The details what I found are from here, and some other sources, mainly what I learned in school abt him. Of course, as almost everybody who born within the borders of the former Kingdom of Hungary, the ethnic origin is the first question.

  • In this site, he is mentioned as of german origin, but he (not hungarians, or others) considered himself as hungarian despite his origin or mother language.
  • He became a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1873, and (date not mentioned) member of the Vienna (or Austrian?) Academy of Science also.
  • The Joseph Petzval Award was founded in 1962 not 1957, by the Scientific Society for Optics, Acoustics, Motion Pictures and Theatre Technology in Hungary. The winners are here.
  • He was honoured with a state medal on his 70th birthday, wich was founded by and named after Franz Joseph I of Austria.
  • He was buried in Vienna also, the city honored him with a tomb and named a road after him. A road is named after him also in Budapest and Braunsweig.
  • He was the one of the founders of the Vienna Photo Club, wich honored him with a memorial monument (hope this is the good expression) wich can be seen in its original place, in the University of Vienna.
  • In his later life, after he retired at the age of 69, he became more and more misanthrope, and let only to his old friends to visit him.
  • He created a type of photocamera, named orthoscope /orthoskop/, in english it often called 'monorail'. It looked like this, but not this is not that camera. Petzval's invention was that 'rail' wich is used in the moving of the objective and (its 'staff') of the camera. Before this, only Box cameras (see pic) were existed. It is the ancestor of the modern studio cameras also.
  • I suggest you to use for mass translations from slavic languages or from hungarian to english. The 'to english' part of it is quite usable, but it is better to translate in smaller parts, so less misstranslations can happen. --VinceB 19:31, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I don't know how is it going in the enwiki, but when Petzval born, the city was called Szepesbéla, only 30years after his death became 'Spišská Belá'. Maybe writing it: born...Szepesbéla(now Spisska Bela)... --VinceB 20:03, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Slovak extremist definition?[edit]

Why is this Slovak and Slovak and again Slovak? He wasn't born in Slovakia, he wasn't Slovakian citizen and he wasn't even German. He clearly defined himself as ethnically Hugarian. Though his family had German origins(and not Slovakian..). Or if the current slovakian pals don't agree that there was Hungarian Kingdom in that time look at Petzval as a part of the Hungarian minority:) in Slovakia, the end is the same: he was Hungarian. There are clear evidences near his ethnic origin, and there are mentions, critical comments before mine but i've seen no response for those. So when there will be responses, we can continue the discussion. Basically you are rigth. According to origin he was probably of moravian origin (Pecival) on his fathers side and zipser-german (partially magyarized) on his mothers side. He considered himself hungarian and that was his own choice and must matter, at least somehow. Probably he had mixed magyar-german-slav origins. That is the rule with hungarians. Hungarians are mixed people. Petöfi was also of mixed origins: slovak-serb-german-magyar. Even Liszt seems to have been mixed magyar-german-slav. Zrinyi was mixed croat-magyar (and some german, italian etc). Most hungarians are not clear about this themselves. . What about non-hungarians then! Not to mention individuals who are anti-hungarian in sentiment and tries to de-hungarize everything hungarian. It is a kind of strange schizofrenoid ethno-racism. László of Stockholm (a mixed but not totally mixed-up hungarian person) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:09, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Comment by Nton[edit]

This article is within the scope of WikiProject Hungary, a collaborative effort to improve Wikipedia's coverage of Hungary. Which virtually means that Hungarians deliberately work on stealing other nation's history and famous people in order to satisfy their natural instinct of dominance no matter how this affects anybody unhappy enough to stay in their way. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nton (talk • contribs) 12:10, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Petzval is not Hungarian? Why?[edit]

I asked for references about his ethnicity. Even Petzwal himself thought he was Hungarian but let's see if there is anything which underpins that he wasn't Hungarian. According to Kalló Péter his colleague, Petzval said about himself that he was the "devoted son of the Hungarian homeland". Why is he consideed czech?? Father from Moravia NOT Bohemia. Mother zipser-german, ergo, hungarian-german! All Zipser-germans were to some degree magyarized. László of Stockholm —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:35, 8 April 2011 (UTC)


LOL. You ppl are funny :-) Slovakians slovakize, Romanians romanianize everthing wich they can about old Hungary's history/culture/ppl, no matter how big lie is it.

Hungarians are tend to look at everthing and everybody as a Hungarian, who or who's parents/relatives spoke the language. :-) LOL

PETZVAL WAS CZECH-GERMAN, but more likely of German heritage. Petzval is not a slavic name. (Petzval is a germanized slavic name! Pecival! and his father had slavic names and was from Moravia, ergo not Bohemia and therefore not Czech! and without doubt not slovakian) Either his mother's: Kreutzmann. Szepes was that time absolute predominantly german inhabited. LOL, you creepy nationalists. :))) -- 10:23, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

RE: Just for your information: He was originally Pecival, what means "the lazy". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:58, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Zips was not mostly German durring the life of Petzval: 93.214 (57.1%) szlovák 44.958 (27.5%) német 17.518 (10.7%) ruszin 4.999 (3.1%) magyar 2.602 egyéb

His father was not Czech or German. He was Slovakian of Moravian origin. See my lower comment about assimilation in western slavic countries. Its nationalistic Hungarian propaganda that Zips was mostly German. In towns were lot of germans but not majority, and later were towns Magyarized. Comitatuses with majority or relative majority of Slovaks in 19th century were:

Trenčianska Oravská Turčianska Liptovská Zvolenská Prešporská Nitrianska Tekovská Hontianska Novohradská Gemerská Spišská Šarišská Abovská Zemplínka

Look census from 1880 and it was after few decades of Magyarization. In census 1891 changed ethnical composition only in Zemplen: 141 188 (47,2%) magyar 107 477 (35,9%) szlovák 31 036 (10,4%) ruszin 15 511 (5,2%) német

Because of magyarization, espetialy in southern part. It was magyarized ethnic Slovak South Zemplin island:

Slovak villages and towns: Sátoraljaújhely (Nová mesto pod Šiatrom), Nižný Rednec (Alsóregmec), Füzér, Forró, Malá Huta (Kisshuta), Veľká Huta (Nagyhuta), Stará Huta (Óhuta), Vágáshuta. In Sátoraljaújhely were Slovaks and Jews Magyarized after 1867 so ethnical compostion was changed (Siracky, 1980). 1891 only 7 % of Slovaks (Pallas nagy lexikona 1897).

--Samofi (talk) 10:54, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Why focus on where he came from?[edit]

I'm a New Zealander and far removed from all of this "Hungarian, German, Slovac" rubbish. The main historical point, that seems to be lost in this argument, is that Petzval was not only brilliant, but RIPPED-OFF by history, which credits the German Seidel with the first invention of third order aberrations, and the Hungarian Buchdahl with the development of high-order aberration coefficients used for optical design. As can be seen in my upcoming paper (, search on papers by "Rakich" after August 2007) there exists sufficient proof in already publiushed work by Petzval and others that Petzval deserves credit for being the first to define third order aberration coefficients in terms of system constructional parameters, as well as high-orders of aberration. To my mind the Hungarians, Slovaks, Austrians and Germans can join the rest of the World in appreciating the brilliance of this individual, and their contributions to the environment that shaped him. Or you could have a war over it...

Regards, Andrew Rakich

(Karpaten1 (talk) 13:19, 19 November 2008 (UTC)) Andrew, One's family is an important part of one's identity. Virtually all biographical articles try to be precise about the citizenship and nationality (ethnicity) of a person. Petzval is seen as a ethnic German who became a Magyar (as so many intellectuals then), e.g. Karpatendeutsches Biographisches Lexikon, p. 248. Zipser Bela, where my mother's ancestors lived from the middle ages to World War II, was in 1800 still inhabited overwhelmingly by ethnic Germans. There is no census data for the early 1800s, but as late as 1880, after the influx of Slovaks and the emigration of many Germans, Germans were still 72.8% of the city. It is difficult to believe (though not 100% impossible) that his father might have been an immigrant Czech, but if he was a teacher, he must have assimilated quickly to the local German culture. His wife is, at least from her name, probably not Slovak. Juro should present definite proof here. Many ethnic Magyars, Germans and Ruthenes from today's Slovakia are rebaptized as Slovaks nowadays, it is as bothersome as any ethnic misappropriation.

(Karpaten1 (talk) 15:39, 19 November 2008 (UTC)) I checked on Googlebooks. Prof. Josef Maria Eder from the University of Vienna knew Petzval personally and discussed his life briefly in his Geschichte der Photographie, 3rd edition, Halle (Germany), Verlag von Wilhelm Knapp, 1905, p. 220-221, where he notes "Petzval selbst, unter Betonung der Tatsache, dass er von deutschen Eltern geboren sei..." confirmed his birth date of January 6, which is the same as his 2 brothers', a coincidence that was doubted for a while. For our case here, Petzval himself stressed that he was born of (ethnic) German parents. Eder also referred to the detailed study of Petzval's youth in Ermenyi's Petzval's Leben und Verdienste,(2 ed), Halle, 1903.

User:Wizzard's edits[edit]

Wizzard, do you have any sources not written in slovak by slovak scholars which say he was slovak? According to reliable, english, third-party sources he was Hungarian of German origin:[1][2][3] And please stop faking informations![1]B@xter 9 10:47, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

  1. ^ Lance Day, Ian McNeil (1996). Biographical dictionary of the history of technology. Taylor & Francis. p. 554. ISBN 0415060427, 9780415060424 Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help). Retrieved 2009.05.16..  More than one of |pages= and |page= specified (help); Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ Leonard Gaunt (1969). The Focal encyclopedia of photography. Michigan University: Focal Press. p. 1076.  More than one of |pages= and |page= specified (help); Check date values in: |access-date= (help);
  3. ^ Michael R. Peres, Mark Osterman, Grant B. Romer, Nancy M. Stuart, Ph.D., J. Tomas Lopez (2007). The Concise Focal Encyclopedia of Photography: From the First Photo on Paper to the Digital Revolution. Focal Press. p. 28. ISBN 024080998X, 9780240809984 Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help). Retrieved 2009.05.17.  More than one of |pages= and |page= specified (help); Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
Hi Baxter, I added neutral German sources about Slovak ethnicity. According to this his ancestors from father side were Moravians with name Peczival and no Germans: Moravian, who was Slovakized, now we are not able to say if he was speaking with czech or slovak as muther language because it was in usage "kraličtina", slovakized czech language in Slovak areas. His muther was of German origin. So you should to be neutral too. Some persons from Kingdom are ethnicaly mixed and they belongs to history of few nations and countries in present time. My reaction are nationalistic sometimes but I have reasons, coz people such Hobartimus and other Hungarians make sabotages. I dont agree with Slovak nationalism too. But look from Slovak side in example of Matej Bel: son of Mr "White" and Mrs "Garlic". Hungarian patriot, but not in ethnical sence - patriot to Hungarian Kingdom. He wrote in Latin, Hungarian, German and kraličtina. He was Slavic by language, of course he was Slovak, his family was in Slovak ethnic area, or was he russian or serb? I hope you understand why I do what I do. In the case of Petzval, its normal phenomene in western slavic nations (Slovak, Poles, Czechs, Moravians) that second (sometimes 3th) generation in ethnic area of different western slavic nation is assimilated (look censuses of Moravians in Czechia (1991, 2001), Slovaks in Czechia (1991, 2001), Slovaks in Poland, Poles in Slovakia, in Czechia and Czechs in Slovakia). --Samofi (talk) 01:48, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
This sentence is "Hungarian[4][1][2][3] mathematician, inventor, and physicist of Slovak ethnicity [5][6][7] and German origin" is mindless. His German ethnicity is weel referenced by reliable third-paryt English sources written by specialists of the issue. (Lance Day, Ian McNeil (1996). Biographical dictionary of the history of technology. Taylor & Francis. p. 554. ISBN 0415060427, 9780415060424. Retrieved 2009.05.16., Eder, Josef Maria; Epstean, Edward; Cramer, Hinricus Lüppo (1945). History of photography. Columbia University Press. p. 761) Your sources are not reliable. (This one is a homemade "scientific work" as the other one too, while your last one is an interpretation abouth Ludwig Boltzmann.--B@xter9 12:32, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, Baxter, but you first accuse other editors of faking sources and dispute the sources by Slovak authors, the, when neutral sources are found, you censor the information further. The last source is an academic one and explicitly states that he was a Slovak, this merits inclusion of the information more than enough. Moreover, that he was Hungarian is not in conflict with his Slovak ethnicity - Hungarian by citizenship, German/Slovak by origin. Wladthemlat (talk) 14:41, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, Wladthemlat, but you first accuse other editors of faking sources and dispute the sources by Hungarian authors, the, when neutral sources are found, you censor the information further. Pleas read reliable sources policy. Although "the last source is an academic one and explicitly states that he was a Slovak," it did not fit into wikipedia's reliable source policy, since the author is not regarded as authoritative in relation to the subject in question (or if i find a source, in which a person with academic degree in nuclear phisics states that Mozart was a Russin musican I can add it?) Furthermore, the issue of that work, Ludwig Boltzmann had nothing to do with optics, nor with Petzval. His name and ethnicity is just mentioned. Morevore, with your revert you re-added several unreliable homemade "sources", which was enough stupid step, dont you think?--B@xter9 15:04, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

here source what claims his slovak origin: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:32, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

i have next english source: and I have found few dozens of slovaks sources, dozen of czech sources and lot of german sources whose say, that he was slovak. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:44, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Samofi, I should not respond to your comments, since you proved that you are a disruptive user and/or you are blocked from editing but let me tell you that it was Petzval who asserted that his parents were Germans. This is the only thing which counts. ("Petzval himself who, emphasizing the fact that he was the son of German parents")--B@xter9 17:20, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Where's that quote from? Wladthemlat (talk) 17:47, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
It is from the second source which supports his German ethnicity (Eder, Josef Maria; Epstean, Edward; Cramer, Hinricus Lüppo (1945). History of photography. Columbia University Press. p. 761. ). Furthermore I also have "dozens of German and Hungarian" sources (like: Spetko, Josef (1991). Die Slowakei: Heimat der Völker [Slovakia: Home of nations] (in German). Amalthea. p. 408. ISBN 3850023060, 9783850023061 Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help). Aus der Zips stammten zwei bedeutende Persönlichkeiten: Otto Balthasar Petzval (1809-89) und sein Bruder Joseph Max Petzval (1807-71), Söhne eines deutschen...  which support his German origin, but since this is the English wikipedia I added only the neutral English ones.--B@xter9 17:53, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Petzval was born in Spisska Bela Szepesbéla, Hungary. It is now in Slovakia[edit]

Information courtesy of The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive University of St Andrews, Scotland Department of Mathematics and Statistics : John J O'Connor and Edmund F Robertson

[2] October 2012 (UTC)

Their entry:

Józeph Miksa Petzval

Born: 6 Jan 1807 in Spisska Bela, Hungary (now in Slovakia) Died: 17 Sept 1891 in Vienna, Austria

There are different versions of Józeph Petzval's name, and, in addition to the one given here, he is often known as Jozef Maximilian Petzval. While giving different versions, let us also remark that the town of his birth is Spisska Bela which is sometimes written as Szepesbéla. It was in Hungary when Petzval was born there but it is now in Slovakia." RPSM (talk) 11:22, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

More dual nationalities here: [[3]] "Petzval was born to German parents, but always considered himself Hungarian" RPSM (talk) 11:46, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

How about keeping the ethnicity issue out of the introduction?[edit]

I find the current sentence including: " Hungarian[1][2][3][4] / Slovak[5][6][page needed] " quite detrimental to the readability of the introduction. Since it seems to be such a complicated issuse it should not be discussed in the introduction. Better leave it out completely. Instead we could have an extra paragraph named for example "Ethnicity", which would go like something along the lines of: "While Petzval's ethnic origin is a matter of dispute between Hungarian [sources], Slovak [sources], ... add whatever others you like to name ... and German [sources], he considered himself to be a Hungarian of German descent. [Source as cited above: Josef Maria Eder: "Geschichte der Photographie"]" What dou you think? --BjKa (talk) 15:31, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Hi Björn, I fully agree with you, the introduction is indeed confusing, and your proposed solution is fine with me. If you have time, please, go ahead with the modifications. Cheers, KœrteFa {ταλκ} 16:43, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Rm (editor argument?) and general cleanup[edit]

Did a quick cleanup. What seems to be a minor point (Ethnicity and name) should not be the first section, it should be a footnote. Also an argument amongst editors is not necessarily a verifiable argument. "Pecival ... means: lazy"???? Source? Rm remainder of section (including apparent tit for tat ethnicity warring) here to talk. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 15:20, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

The article still reads like a translation from another language, and needs further cleanup. EEye (talk) 13:59, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

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