Authorised form of nameRamsden; Jesse (1735 - 1800)
Dates1735 - 1800
Place of birthSalterhebble, near Halifax, Yorkshire, England
Date of birth06 October 1735
Place of deathBrighton, Sussex
Date of death05 November 1800
OccupationScientific instrument maker
Research fieldMathematics
Apprentice to a cloth worker, Halifax; apprentice to Mark Burton, mathematical instrument maker, Denmark Street, Strand, London (1758); worked in the Dollond workshop (early 1760s); opened shops in Haymarket and Piccadilly; opened a shop on the Strand (1763); also invented scientific instruments. To own a Ramsden instrument, be it one of his great theodolites or one of the many sextants and barometers produced at his London workshop, was to own not only an instrument of incredible accuracy and great practical use, but also a thing of beauty. Ramsden was a perfectionist, sometimes to the frustration of waiting customers, but this did not limit his productivity.
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election12/01/1786
Royal Society activityMedals and prizes:
Copley Medal 1795
RelationshipsMarried Sarah, daughter of John Dollond (FRS 1761); her portion was a share in her father's patent for making achromatic lenses
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB
Charles H Cotter, 'The Mariner's Sextant and the Royal Society' in NR 1978-9 vol 33 pp 23-36
John R Levene, 'Benjamin Franklin, FRS, Sir Joshua Reynolds, FRS, PRA, Benjamin West, PRA and the Invention of Bifocals' in NR 1972-3 vol 27 pp 141-163
A W Skempton and Joyce Brown, 'John and Edward Troughton, Mathematical Instrument Makers' in NR 1972-3 vol 27 pp 233-262
Douglas McKie, 'Priestley's Laboratory and Library and Other of his Effects' in NR 1956-57 vol 12 pp 114-136
Richard Sorrenson, 'Dollond and Sons pursuit of achromaticity, 1758-1789' in Historia Mathematica 28 (2) (May 2001) pp 31-55
Anita McConnell, 'Jesse Ramsden (1735-1800): London's leading scientific instrument maker' Ashgate (2007)
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA6963
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
IM/003739Ramsden, Jessend
CB/2/636Copy of a letter from Charles Blagden to Jesse Ramsden27 April 1792
CB/2/713Copy of a letter from Charles Blagden to Jesse Ramsden22 December 1791
IM/003738Ramsden, Jessend
MM/7/23Board of Longitude, Some notes about a controversy between Jesse Ramsden and William Bayley, concerning a 15 Inch Sextant made by Ramsdenc.1781
MM/7/21Letter from James King, Serle Street, to the Board of Longitude3 March 1781
EC/1785/18Ramsden, Jesse: certificate of election to the Royal Society1785
RSL/1/29Letter from Dr Maskelyne, Greenwich, to Sir Joseph Banks23 June 1783
CB/1/6/87Letter from J Ramsden, London to Charles Blagden, Physician at Gloucester23 November 1769
CB/1/5/171Letter from C J Phipps, Mulgrave Hall to Charles Blagden16 September 1774
MC/3/105Letter from Colonel [Thomas Frederick] Colby, Ordnance Map Office Tower, to the Marquis of Northampton, President of the Royal Society11 August 1840
L&P/9/139Letter, 'Concerning the lenses of Chester Moore Hall' from Addison Smith to Jesse Ramsden4 June 1789
L&P/7/101/1Paper, 'Two new micrometers' by Jesse Ramsden1779
L&P/7/101Paper, 'Two new micrometers' by Jesse Ramsden1779
L&P/7/101/3Plate, 'Eye tube of telescope' by Jesse Ramden1779
L&P/7/101/2Plate, 'Small speculum divided into two equal parts' by Jesse Ramsden1779
L&P/9/138Paper, 'Some observations on the invention of achromatic telescopes' by Jesse Ramsden1789
MOB/037Theodolite by Jesse Ramsden1784-1787
MOB/038Protractor by Jesse Ramsden18th century
MM/3/30Letter from Jesse Ramsden, Piccadilly, to the Council of the Royal Society13 May 1790
MM/7/25Letter from William Wales, Christ's Hospital, to Jesse Ramsden16 March 1781
MM/7/22William Bayley, 'Some Account of a 15 Inch Sextant made by Mr Ramsden'c.1781
MS/319/221Bond of Jesse Ramsden to the Treasurer of the Royal Society19 January 1786
P/0107Portrait of Ramsden, Jessec.1772
MC/3Volume 3 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1839-1843
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