Anton Kutter (June 13, 1903 - February 1, 1985)

Born on June 13, 1903, in Biberach an der Riß, Schwaben/Württemberg, South Germany, Anton Kutter got his school education in Biberach and Ravensburg. He studied engeneering at the Technical University in Ravensburg, which he finished with a diploma. Besides his studies, assisted at the Public Observatory in Stuttgart. At that time, he got known with and influenced by Philipp Fauth (1867-1941), a great observer of the Moon and planets.

In 1926 he went to Cologne and joined the Phototechnisches Labor (Phototechnical Laboratory), and created his first movies the same year. Among them was a portrait of Biberach. He also made movies in Paris Switzerland, and from 1931 to 1947, worked for the Bavaria Film in Munich. In 1937, he created the Science Fiction movie, "Weltraumschiff I startet" [Space Ship I launches], a story about a first Moon landing which he dated in 1963 (see Heise Webpage, in German). In all, he created almost 50 movies.

After World War II, Anton Kutter took over from his father the cinema in Biberach which he re-opened as the "Urania Theater" in 1955. This profession left him enough time for a successful amateur carreer in astronomy.

Already at age 12, Kutter manufactured his first refracing telescope from lenses taken from a toy cinematograph. He got known to Anton Staus (1872-1952) who introduced him to the theory of "Brachy" telescopes, reflectors of short construction, but not obstruction-free, developed in 1876-77 by J. Forster and K. Fritsch in Vienna. Kutter got interested and developed plans for a "Neo-Brachyt," which were supported by the Munich optical and mechanical workshop of Georg Tremel starting in 1936. After four years, a first instrument was publicly presented, an obstruction-free reflecting telescope which was of the design of the modern Schiefspiegler in its anastigmatic variant.

World War II prevented immediate further development. Bombed out, Kutter lived in the house of Prof. Staus in Pullach, Bavaria, during World War II. There he started to write a treatise and documentation, which was finally completed and published in 1953 under the title "Der Schiefspiegler" (Kutter 1953). Now owner of a cinema, he erected an observartory with a 12-inch (30 cm) Schiefspiegler in Biberach.

Kutter and the Schiefspiegler got internationally reknown in the late 1950s and the 1960s (see the publications of 1958, 1959, 1963, 1965, 196?, 196??). In the 1960s, Lichtenknecker Optics started to offer mirror sets for Kutter Schiefspieglers. For several years, the Kosmos Verlag company offered a kit for building a Schiefspiegler according to his construction plans (Kutter 1964). His last construction, the very compact Tri-Schiefspiegler, was published in 1975.

During the 1970s, Kutter retired to a life with his family in Biberach without much publicity, and passed away after a longer disease on February 1, 1985.

He will be remembered for his Schiefspiegler, also called the Kutter telescope. Nowadays, Kutter telescopes of up to 40 cm aperture, while not exactly widespread, are available for amateurs; the largest instrument the present author is aware of is a 24-inch near Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. There is a museum on Kutter in Laupheim, and his House of Birth, the "Haus zum Kleeblatt," is situated prominently at the beautiful Biberach market place.



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