Joseph von Fraunhofer was an orphan apprentised to a
glassmaker. His workhouse collapsed and he was buried in the
rubble, but he was rescued by Prince Maximilian Joseph, who
subsequently ensured that Joseph was treated better and could
continue his education.
Early opticians ground their own lenses; von Fraunhofer
constructed his own furnace, invented and made his own glass,
designed and built machines for grinding and polishing lenses, and
designed his own optical instruments. He designed and built
telescopes and microscopes, and he invented the spectroscope.
Like the other glassmakers of his time, he was poisoned by
heavy metal vapors and died young.
The absorption lines in the solar spectrum are still named Fraunhafer
See also in The book of science:
Readings on wikipedia: