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made in England

Postcard of Microscope.
© National Museums Scotland


This hand-held microscope was made in England in the early 18th century. It is unsigned.

The instrument has an ivory body and handle. It has variety of accessories in a shagreen case including eight object glasses, a lens carrier for opaque objects, a black and ivory disc in brass frame, an ivory box for mica discs, and nine object slides.

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 in a publication of 1702.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-219-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1938.37
Date: Early 18th century
Material: Ivory body and handle / shagreen case / ivory disc, brass frame / ivory box / mica discs
Dimensions: 2.00" L x 1.13" D / 7.00" L x 2.50" W
What: Microscope, hand, screw barrel, Wilson / case / microscope access
Subject: 22. PHYSICS, Light (Departmental Classification)
Who: Wilson (Eponym)
Where: England
Description: Hand microscope of the Wilson screw barrel type, body and handle of ivory, in a shagreen case, with a variety of microscope accessories, early 18th century
  • 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 249-257 
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