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probably made in England

Postcard of Microscope.
© National Museums Scotland


This simple brass microscope was made in the early 19th century, probably in England. It is unsigned.

The microscope has a single lens, concave mirror and extra large condenser. It is mounted on a scroll brass stand on a mahogany base.

Invented by the Dutchman Nicolaas Hartsoeker, this type of instrument was known as a Wilson screw barrel microscope, after James Wilson of London who popularised the design in England.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-202-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1925.10
Date: Early 19th century
Material: Brass, scroll brass stand, mahogany base
What: Microscope, screw barrel, Wilson
Subject: 22. PHYSICS, Light (Departmental Classification)
Who: Wilson (Eponym)
Description: Early nineteenth century brass Wilson screw barrel microscope with concave mirror and extra large condenser, mounted on a scroll brass stand on a mahogany base with drawer
  • For other Wilson screw barrel microscopes, see Turner, G. L'E., The Great Age of the Microscope: The Collection of the Royal Microscopical Society Through 150 Years. Bristol & New York: 1989, pp 261-2 
  • Wilson, James, 'The description and manner of using a late invented set of small pocket microscopes, made by James Wilson...' in Philosophical Transactions no 289, Sept-Oct (1702-3) pp 1241-7 
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