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 These hand held instruments could reveal more detail than 18th century compound microscopes and were not really superceded in resolving power until the 1820's.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 .

STAND: The microscope is held up to the eye using the thumb screw. STAGE: A pointed rod 1/4" long for mounting specimens is screwed into a 13/16" long metal block or stage. BODY: The simple lens is mounted between two thin sterling silver oblong plates 15/16" by 1 7/8" at their greatest dimensions. OCULAR: The simple biconvex lens is clamped in a concavity formed between the plates and secured by four equidistant rivets. ADJUSTMENTS: A screw, 13/32" long, aligns the stage and object with the lens while a thumb screw on the eye side pivots the metal plates giving lateral motion. Focusing is achieved by a second thumb screw which passes through the stage at one end and presses against the plane of the oblong plates. Turning the knob of the object holder acts as a further focusing mechanism. CASE: The plexi-glass mount and case, provided with a wooden base with mirrored top surface, is 3 1/4" square and 6" tall. TOTAL HEIGHT: Overall microscope length, with object spike in position before the lens, is 3". SIGNATURE/ENGRAVING: The Replica Rara stamp is located at the base to the two oblong plates and to the right of the long focusing screw.


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