Many old books are now online, and although until very recently you would have had to go to a special library to see them, now they might be available very easily. You can essentially flick through them, to see what they actually say.
The following websites may have an original book, if it has been scanned, and if copyright is not an issue:
https://books.google.com. Click on cogwheel at upper right, and then pdf.
https://archive.org. Has things that Google doesn’t.
www.forgottenbooks.org. Online texts and physical reproductions.
These are sources that showed up when researching the "nodal point".
“Gaussian Optics”, or “paraxial optics”, are a mainstay of geometrical optics, but Gauss’ original publication had no figures. Carl Friedrich Gauss. Dioptrische Untersuchungen, Göttingen, 1841.
Original German text: Gauss Dioptrische Untersuchungen
A commentary in English in Taylor's Scientific Memoirs from 1843 is here: Taylors
And a translation is at the following address: GaussEnglish
Johann Benedikt Listing was a colleague of Gauss, and he added the “nodal point” (knotenpunkt) to paraxial optics when he was describing the eye, where the image is in fluid rather than air.
Johann Benedikt Listing. Beitrag zur physiologischen Optik. 1845.
Herman von Helmholtz has an excellent 3 volume work from the mid-1800s that is still well worth reading today. Helmholtz’s Treatise on Physiological Optics, v1 (1856, with 3rd Ed. from 1909 Translated to English 1924), Ed. J Southall, (Optical Society of America, 1924). Helmholtz.
Some background to Helmholtz is in this article. HelmholtzBio
Donders included a cardinal point drawing with all the cardinal points in 1864. Recent references often describe the nodal points separately. Franciscus Cornelis Donders. On the anomalies of accommodation and refraction of the eye. New Sydenham Society, London, 1864. Donders
Reginald Clay said in 1904 that he had named the “nodal slide” test for measuring focal length, where a lens is rotated back and forth about a pivot point perpendicular to the axis, while being moved axially until the image is stationary. R. S. Clay, "The Practical Testing of Photographic Lenses," The Photo-Beacon XVI, 109–119 (1904). Clay Clay included this in an interesting and practical book in 1911 (Treatise on practical light). Clay1911.
Since publishing the 2022 Applied Optics paper, an earlier description of a nodal slide method has been found in “Etude des lentilles et objectifs photographiques” by P. Moessard in 1889. He appears to have trademarked a test method called “le tourniquet”. This is mentioned by C. V. Drysdale in “The testing of optical instruments” (1902, p74). Moessard had also described the testing earlier at a French meeting in 1886, and the text is here: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k9602140r/f136.item.zoom
Conrad Beck was the son of the founder of the Beck microscope company in London, and he must have grown up around lenses. He gave a remarkably clear explanation about the optics of the microscope in Beck, J Soc Arts LVI, The theory of the microscope, 1907, in 4 lectures (in separate locations within a 1200 page book). Beck1907. Of particular note is Beck’s description of an equivalent thin lens that moves rapidly from the first to the second principal plane. This is also included in a paper at a first optics conference in London in 1905. C. Beck, "The Consideration of the Equivalent Planes of Optical Instruments," in The Proceedings of the Optical Convention (Norgate & Williams, London, 1905), pp. 9–18. Beck1905. And in the 2nd of two books about the microscope. BeckBook.
Beck also described an optical bench in 1903 that has what appears to be a nodal slide test. The original English version does not seem to be available (the London Camera Club looked but did not have a copy. Thanks). There is a German translation. K. Beck, "Eine neue methode der objectivprufung," Jahrb. für Photogr. und Reproduktionstechnik 17, 257–274 (1903). BeckTesting.
Beck's optical bench is also described on p277 of "Photographic lenses. A simple treatise". by Conrad Beck and Herbert Andrews. https://archive.org/details/photographiclensOObeck
This is undated, but 1903 is mentioned in an ad on p6. The nodal slide test is on p277.
Other papers in the 1905 London "Proceedings of the Optical Convention" are also interesting. The inaugural address by Glazenbrook nicely summarizes the situation at the time. 1905Glazenbrook.
There was also a 2nd London Optical Convention in 1912, with an inaugural address by Prof. Silvanus Thompson. This conference included a paper by G.F.C.Searle about nodal slide test methods, and Searle's 1925 book on Experimental Optics is also well worth looking at (though it may not be available online).
Revised to add Moessard 9/14/22
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