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Hevelius, Johannes

1. Dates
Born: Danzig, 1611
Died: Danzig, 1689
Dateinfo: 76
Lifespan: 88
2. Father
Occupation: Merchant
Described as prosperous brewer and property owner.
Clearly prosperous.
3. Nationality
Birth: German (as Danzig was)
Career: German
Death: German
4. Education
Schooling: Leiden, no known degree
1618-1624, Danzig Gymnasium. Then sent to a school at Gondeltsch, near Bromberg, to acquire fluency in Polish. In 1627, returned to Danzig Gymnasium and had private lessons from Peter Krueger, teacher of mathematics and astronomy, who saw to it that he got instruction in instrument making and engraving.
1630, went to Leiden to study jurisprudence.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Lutheran
An evangelische protestant--i.e., Lutheran.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Astronomy, Instrumentation
7. Means of Support
Primary: Merchant, Personal Means
After a prolonged tour, visiting London (1631) and Paris (1632-1634), he was called home (1634) by his family. He worked at his father's brewery for a couple of years while studying the Danzig constitution with an eye toward public service.
1635, married Katharina Rebeschke, daughter of a wealthy citizen of Danzig.
1641, named an honorary magistrate.
1651, named ratsherr (city councillor).
1649, inherited father's brewery.
1663, married Catherina Elisabetha Koopman, daughter of a rich merchant.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, City Magistrate
The Danzig senate paid for one at least one of his larger instruments.
The Machina Coelestis (1673) is dedicated to Louis XIV, who sent him a yearly grant (starting in 1663?).
Jan III Sobieski, King of Poland, was probably his major patron. He gave Hevelius a yearly stipend of 1000 gulden (starting in 1667?).
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Instruments
Hevelius was an accomplished instrument maker and engraver. He made several large telescopes and some of the last large open sighted instruments after designs by Tycho Brahe, for his observatory which he called "Sternenburg" or "Stellaeburg". He also introduced the use of the vernier scale.
He wrote a major two volume book on instruments, the Machina Coelestis (1673)
10. Scientific Societies
Membership: Royal Society
Member of the Royal Society (1664).
Was in contact with Usher, Wallis, Hartlib, Gassendi, and Boulliau.
  1. Felix Schmeidler, "Hevelius," in Neue Deutche Biographie, 9 (Berlin, 1971), 59-61. [ref. CT1053.N47 v.9]
  2. Brigham Young University Library, Johannes Hevelius and his Catalogue of Stars, (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young Univ. Press, 1971) [QB41.H594 B8]
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. A Seidemann, Johannes Hevelius.
  2. E.F. MacPike, Hevelius, Flamsteed, Halley.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

1995 Al Van Helden
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