< 1 of 1 > Back

probably made in Edinburgh

Postcard of Microscope.
© National Museums Scotland


This brass simple microscope was made in 1773, probably by John Clark, a jeweller, goldsmith and optical instrument maker based in Edinburgh between 1749 and 1796. He first offered microscopes, made in silver, for sale in 1749, subsequently modifying their design in 1754, and ultimately advertising a brass instrument from 1773. This example is signed and dated at the base of the pillar 'Jno Clark / Edinr 1773.'

In this pocket instrument, Clark has managed to include all the fittings and accessories found in the much more substantial microscopes used in the contemporary drawing room. The entire instrument folds up and fits into its fishskin-covered case, allowing it to be taken out (in a pocket) into the field.

Clark was the first Edinburgh instrument maker to test whether the local Lowland market could afford such items aimed at the gentleman-amateur. That examples of his instruments survive, proves that he was successful.

Record details

To search on related items, click any linked text below.

Online ID: 000-100-104-201-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1925.9
Date: 1773
What: Microscope, simple
Subject: 22. PHYSICS, Light (Departmental Classification)
Who: John Clark, Edinburgh (Instrument maker)
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Description: Simple microscope, in a fish-skin case with accessories, by John Clark, Edinburgh, 1773
  • D.J. Bryden, 'Three Edinburgh Microscope Makers: John Finlayson, William Robertson and John Clark', Book of the Old Edinburgh Club 33 (1972), pp165-176. 
Related Records:
< 1 of 1 > Back
Powered by Scran