John Henry Brown was born at Woolwich on the 4th of September 1836. His Father was a dentist who practiced at Woolich and afterwards at Brighton. From Childhood he was fond of scientific pursuits, and while at school he made himself a photographic camera. He became a dentist and joined his father in practice in the old Steyn, Brighton. Later he moved to Hove.
In about 1867 while pursing his hobby of photography John Henry Brown invented the Iris Diaphragm. He took his home-made model to Smith and Beck, the predecessors of the well-known firm of opticians in Cornhill (R&J Beck). The model, although roughly constructed, lacked no important detail to the modern day iris diaphragm. He refused to patent the invention, preferring to publish it at once, for the free use of all. John Henry Brown received no reward for his ingenuity.
Mr. Brown possessed a small telescope, of which he made constant use. He became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of in 1888.
Mr. Brown married in 1883 and raised two step children.
He continued to practice his dentistry in Hove, until approximately 1897.
On December 19th, 1903 John Henry Brown died at his residence at Brighton at age seventy-seven.
1904, Feb - Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, p 272
1904 Nature - Volume 69 - Page 204
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