Leeuwenhoek Microscope (replica), Original ca. 1670; replica ca. 1961
This is a Leeuwenhoek microscope (replica).
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.
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.