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Postcard of Microscope.
© National Museums Scotland


This brass and ebony microscope (pictured here with its fitted, pocket-sized case) dates from around 1700. It was sold by Edward Culpeper (c.1666-1737).

The screw-barrel microscope has a single objective and is signed 'Culpeper Fet' on the side of the body. It has five ivory slides together with manuscript lists, one of which is pictured here.

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: 000-100-102-803-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1982.138
Date: Around 1700
Material: Brass, ebony. Inscription: Culpeper Fet; 3
Dimensions: 70 mm x 20 mm D; 60 mm x 40 mm x 100 mm
What: Microscope / case
Who: Culpeper (Inscribed on the microscope)
E. Culpeper, London (Maker)
Wilson (Eponym)
Where: England, London
Description: Wilson screw-barrel microscope of ebony and brass, in a pocket-sized case, signed by Edward Culpeper, London, c. 1700
  • For Edward Culpeper, see see Clifton, Gloria, Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851. London: 1995, p 73 
  • For Wilson screw-barrel instruments, see Clay, R. S. & Court, T. H., 'The Wilson Microscopes' in Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society 46 (1926), pp 208-12 
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