Microscope (detail)

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made in England

Postcard of Microscope (detail).
© National Museums Scotland

Microscope (detail)

This is a detail of the barrel of a compound microscope. The instrument was made in England around 1700 and is unsigned.

The detail shows the stained orange and green mottling and gold-impressed tooled motives on the vellum-covered outer draw of the microscope. Such motives are typical for the period.

In 1966, a study of the motifs on 70 English instruments showed that the same book-binding tools were used to decorate instruments signed by different makers. However, the motifs fell into three stylistic - and therefore possibly dating - groups.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-002-617-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.NL 37
Date: 1st 1/4 18th century
Around 1700
Material: Turned wood body; white vellum covered paste-board draw-tubes; brass tripod on wood base
Dimensions: 14.00" min H
What: Microscope, compound
Subject: Jewellery: clocks, watches (NMAS Classification)
22. PHYSICS, Microscopes (Science and Technology Classification)
Description: Compound microscope, tripod type, English, first quarter 18th century
  • Turner, G. L'E., 'Decorative Tooling on 17th and 18th Century Microscopes and Telescopes' in Physis: Revista internazionale di storis della scienza 8 (1966), pp 99-128; republished in Essays on the History of the Microscope. Oxford: 1980, pp 79-108 
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