The collection of reproduction antique microscopes is dependent upon expert and tasteful craftsmanship.  From the original patterns, precision instrument craftsmen have reproduced this historical instrument collection in a flawless likeness to the original designs.  These instruments are, like the originals, formidable works of art. Very few museums in the world posses a collection of instruments equal to these.

Working from original patterns, craftsmen used brass, silver, shagreen leather from the sting ray, bone, rare teak and ebony, and finely polished glass lenses to reproduce historically significant instruments in faithful detail.  Early experiments in optics and specimen examination may be exactly reproduced and understood with the use of these instruments.  Each instrument is accompanied by a copy of the book 18th Century Microscopes: A Synopsis of History and Workbook by James B. McCormick, M.D, a manual which references the design and function details of each instrument component.


Olde English Tripod Microscope Reproduction c.1680

The earliest known microscopes were a cylindrical tube supported by a small tripod, a pattern which continued in some form for over 200 years. This is a reproduction of one of a rare group of English instruments of the 1680′s. The tooling is in the manner of bookbindings of the period. A study of tooling motifs has shown that all late 17th century microscopes and telescopes were made by very few workshops whose products were retailed by many London shopkeepers.

This instrument was reproduced from the original antique microscope #0141 in the McCormick Collection.

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Simple Microscope, Leeuwenhoek, Antony Van Reproduction, late 17th century

Antony Van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), a Dutch Burgess, whose early use of lenses in examining cloth as a draper’s apprentice probably led to his interest in lens making. As a student of nature he was probably the first man to see blood corpuscles, protozoa, and bacteria. For these investigations, he designed and made a simple microscope.
Leeuwenhoek made several hundred such microscopes. Of the nine originals extant today, the best has a magnification of 275x. These hand held instruments could reveal more detail than 18th century compound microscopes and were not really superceded in resolving power until the 1820′s.
A reproduction of this antique instrument was made for this collection in the Royal Microscopical Society Collection at Oxford, England .

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Compound Microscope, Marshall's "Great Double Constructed" Reproduction c.1700

John Marshall (1663-1725), an optical instrument maker at the sign of Archimedes and Spectacles, Ludgate Street, London, advertised this microscope for viewing the circulation of blood in 1693. For such examination the base is fitted with a lead counterweight, so the body tube can swing beyond the edge of the base support.  A means for maintaining the object in the optic axis when the main pillar is inclined is also provided. This was a significant step forward in the evolution of the microscope. A hallmarked sterling registration plaque  is fitted within the instrument drawer.

This microscope was reproduced from the original antique instrument #0189 in the McCormick Collection.

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Screw Barrel Microscope, Sector Stand Reproduction, Culpeper, c. 1720

Edmund Culpeper, born in the late 1660′s, was apprenticed to Walter Hayes, a famous engraver and instrument maker of Moorfield, London. The elaborate hand engraving of this microscope is an exact duplicate of the original.

This instrument was reproduced from the original antique microscope #0204 in the McCormick Collection.

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Compound, Screw-barrel Microscope, Wm. Robertson "Edinburgh" Reproduction, c. 1750

This instrument, which converts to a solar microscope, is an unusual modification of the screw-barrel microscope. The Scottish instrument maker, William Robertson, issued a pamphlet describing this “New Catadioptric Microscope.”

This instrument was reproduced from the original antique microscope in a British museum collection.

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Compound-Brass, Culpeper-type Reproduction c. 1750

The traditional tripod microscope was popular through the 18th century, and, this design, associated with Culpeper’s name, developed into an all brass instrument during the middle of the century. There are two basic sizes of this type among extant microscopes. The smaller, about 10-11″ tall, is more rare than the larger which is usually about 15-16″ tall.

This instrument, often called the apprentice model, is of the smaller (10-11″ tall) model and was reproduced from the original antique microscope #0188 in the McCormick Collection.

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Compound Microscope, J. Cuff Reproduction, c. 1757

This important design was devised by John Cuff, in 1744 at the suggestion of Henry Baker the well-known 18th century microscopist. The most significant innovation is in the composite side pillar, which gives rigidity, enabling the instrument to be provided with a delicate fine focus.

This instrument was reproduced from the original antique microscope in the McCormick Collection.

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Simple Compass Microscope, Lieberkuhn type Reproduction, c. 1800

In 1783 the German anatomist and physician, Dr. Johann Lieberkuhn, attached a concave polished silver mirror around a simple microscope objective lens. Light was thus reflected onto a solid object so that it was well illuminated from the eye side, till then virtually impossible, even though the idea had been around for approximately 100 years. Both the Lieberkuhn lens and the instrument’s portability enhanced the use of the microscope for botanical field work.

This microscope was reproduced from the original antique microscope #0212 in the McCormick Collection

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Simple Microscope, Spring object holder Reproduction, Early 19th century

During the late 18th and early 19th century the interest in simple image magnification included both the serious student who might carry a small pocket magnifier or field microscope and the casual novice who might purchase an inexpensive magnifier such as the Fruitwood Continental simple microscope. Some of these devices were manufactured by “toy makers” among whom were the wooden toy craftsmen of Nuremburg, Germany. This is a contrast to the optical or mathematical instrument makers who were providers to the scientific community.

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