Rudolf Kingslake was born Rudolf Klickmann on August 28, 1903. He was the eldest of five children. His father, Martin Klickmann changed the family name to Kingslake on May 15, 1917. After being educated in private schools, Kingslake attended Imperial College and studied under highly regarded optical designer A.E. Conrady. He would later marry Conrady’s daughter Hilda who was studying in the same program.
Majoring in optical design, Kingslake graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1924 and earned a master’s degree in 1926. In 1950 he earned a doctorate. After graduation in 1926, Kingslake continued for another year as a Beit Fellow before joining Sir Howard Grubb, Parsons and Co., in Newcastle-on-Tyne, as an optical designer. He then moved to the International Standard Electric Co. in London.
A major turning point in Kingslake’s life occurred when the president of the University of Rochester, Rush Rhees, visited England in the early summer of 1929 specifically to recruit faculty members for The Institute of Optics. Kingslake was appointed assistant professor of geometrical optics and optical design and was confirmed by the board of trustees June 15, 1929 on the recommendation of the president.
Kingslake had a lifelong career in association with The Institute of Optics and developed the teaching materials for the first courses in lens design and geometrical optics formally offered in the U.S. He served the university as a full-time faculty member until 1937, when he joined Eastman Kodak as head of the Lens Design Department at the invitation of C.E. Kenneth Mees, head of Kodak Research Laboratories.
Over his career, Kingslake wrote three books on optical design and with his wife, edited a fourth series on applied optics and optical design. The latter included a volume based on an unfinished manuscript written by A.E. Conrady. Kingslake was active in OSA serving as president in 1948-49 and receiving the Frederic Ives Medal in 1973. Both he and his wife were made fellows of the society.
Kingslake died February 25, 2003.