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probably made in London

Postcard of Microscope.
© National Museums Scotland


This simple microscope was made around 1745, probably by George Lindsay, a watchmaker based in London. Lindsay designed the instrument in 1728 and patented it in 1743 - the first English patent for a microscope.

The instrument is now incomplete, with no accessories or lenses. It is inscribed 'Geo. Lindsay Invent. & Fec.'

Designed to pack into a small box, it was commonly called the 'snuff box' microscope. Lindsay was granted his patent, no 588, for a 'portable microscope' on 17 February 1743.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-222-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1951.57
Date: 1745
Around 1745
Material: Inscription: Geo. Lindsay Invent. & Fec.
Dimensions: 3.50" x 3.50" x 2.00"
What: Microscope, simple
Subject: 22. PHYSICS, Light (Departmental Classification)
Who: George Lindsay, London (Microscope maker and inventor)
Where: England, London
Description: Simple microscope by George Lindsay, 1745, tripod pillar missing, no accessories or lenses, inscribed "Geo. Lindsay Invent. & Fec."
  • For a complete example, 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 
  • For Lindsay's patent, see Brown, W. H., 'Patents connected with the microscope' in Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society, 2nd series 15 (1895) pp 257-73, esp 259-62 
  • For Lindsay's publications on the microscope, see Taylor, E. G. R., The Mathematical Practitioners of Hanoverian England 1714-1840. Cambridge: 1966, p 163, item 193 
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