History of Fraunhofer

Fraunhofer USA

The organization takes its name from Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787-1826), the illustrious Munich researcher, inventor and entrepreneur. 

Born of a family of modest means, Joseph von Fraunhofer was a glass-grinding apprentice when discovered by the privy counsellor Joseph von Utzschneider. He took up employ in the latter’s Optical Institute and, at the age of 22, became the director of glass manufacturing. He was responsible for the development of new methods of glass production and processing.

The optical instruments he himself developed, including the spectrometer and the diffraction grid, allowed Fraunhofer to conduct fundamental research in the fields of light and optics. He was the first to measure the spectrum of sunlight and characterize the dark absorption strips it contains: the "Fraunhofer lines". His independent, autodidactic work won him great acclaim from industry and government. The former apprentice became a full member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences.