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Leeuwenhoek Microscope (replica), Original ca. 1670; replica ca. 1961

This is a Leeuwenhoek microscope (replica).

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from National Museum of American History as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated Original ca. 1670; replica ca. 1961. Its medium is brass.

Allowing one to see what was previously invisible, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s device was one of the earliest applications of a simple single-lens microscope for the examination of living things. Far superior to anything available at the time, his microscopes could magnify the view 250 times or more. The instrument was very basic—a brass plate with a lens mounted in a tiny hole. The specimen was mounted on a sharp pin in front of the lens, and its position and focus were adjusted by turning the two screws. The entire instrument was only 7.5 to 10 cm (3–4 in.) long, and had to be held close to the eye; it required good lighting and great patience to use. One of Leeuwenhoek’s special skills was grinding the lenses, producing superior magnification. He was one of the first scientists to observe and describe single-celled organisms, referring to them as "little animalcules."

It is credited Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, M-09840.

  • Ophthalmoscope And Case (Germany), 1860
  • ophthalmoscope: velvet, metal, wood, optical glass; case: leather, velvet.
  • Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, 314016.
  • 14.2012.6

Our curators have highlighted 2 objects that are related to this one.

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 9 x 2.3 x 3 cm (3 9/16 x 7/8 x 1 3/16 in.)

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

This object may be subject to Copyright, loan conditions or other restrictions.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35457123/ |title=Leeuwenhoek Microscope (replica), Original ca. 1670; replica ca. 1961 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>