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Compound monocular microscope, Europe, 1681-1720

Science Museum, London

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Credit: Compound monocular microscope, Europe, 1681-1720. Credit: Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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This ornate compound microscope was made around a century after the first prototype microscopes of this type were allegedly developed by Dutch eye-glass maker Zaccharias Janssen and his son Hans – this claim is the subject of some dispute. Unlike single lens microscopes, compound microscopes contain at least two lenses. The tube of this microscope is covered in vellum – a fine type of parchment made from the skin of a young calf or goat. The mount is made from walnut. This microscope may have been a source of entertainment and used to study a wide variety of animals, vegetables and minerals. It is only since the 1800s that microscopes have become central to medicine. maker: Unknown maker Place made: Europe

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