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21/07/2009

Man Behind Cooke Optics Commemorated

Thomas Cooke, the name behind Cooke Optics' film and photographic lenses, has been honoured in his home town of Allerthorpe in East Yorkshire, with a commemorative plaque unveiled yesterday to celebrate his scientific achievements.
Thomas Cooke (1807 - 1868) founded T. Cooke & Sons of York in 1836 and became renowned as a maker of astronomical telescopes and other optical devices, teaching himself navigation, astronomy and optics despite having just two years of formal education.
In 1893, T.Cooke & sons' Optical Manager, H. Dennis Taylor, designed and patented the revolutionary triplet design. The Cooke Triplet concept was a simple and elegant solution to design issues that plagued lens designers of the era.
T.Cooke & Sons did not wish to pursue the photographic lens business and offered the manufacturing rights to Taylor, Taylor & Hobson of Leicester, optical instrument makers who had a reputation for producing quality optical products.
TTH's first photographic lens was made in 1894 based on Dennis Taylor's Cooke Triplet patent. However, the licensing agreement stated that the lenses would be sold under the trade name 'Cooke' - and the name has survived throughout the company's tumultuous history.
The plaque commemorating Thomas Cooke was unveiled at Allerthorpe Village Hall on July 16 by Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE, the President of the Institute of Physics.
Robert Howard, Chief Executive Officer of Cooke Optics, who attended the ceremony, said: "We are delighted that Thomas Cooke has been recognised in this way. Without his passion and determination for optics there would be no lenses with the name 'Cooke' and without Thomas Cooke's brilliant employee, Dennis Taylor, today's film industry would be a very different place, since Cooke lenses were instrumental in establishing Hollywood as the centre of 20th century film production."
(KMcA/BMcC)
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