Hans Lippershey was probably not the first person to experiment with combining lenses to create crude telescopes and binoculars. In fact, there is an apocryphal tale that says Lippershey's children actually invented the first telescope while playing with flawed lenses in his workshop. There is no record of this, however. While others later claimed to have invented the device, it was Lippershey who applied to the government of the Netherlands for a patent in 1608.
Eventually, the patent was denied. The government thought that the device could not be kept a secret. However, Hans Lippershey constructed several binocular telescopes for the Netherlands government and was well compensated.
In 1609, Italian scientist, Galileo Galilei learned of Lippershey's device and began constructing his own, eventually increasing the magnification to a factor of 20. With this wonderous new instrument, he was able to spot mountains and craters on the moon, discover that the Milky Way was composed of stars, and discover the four largest moons of Jupiter.
Hans Lippershey died in the Netherlands in 1619.