Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek (1635-1723) was a Dutch tradesman who became interested in microscopy while on a visit to London in 1666. Returning home, he began making simple microscopes of the sort that Robert Hooke had described in his, Micrographia, and using them to discover objects invisible to the naked eye.
In 1886, John Mayall, a prominent English microscopist, made drawings of an original Leeuwenhoek microscope that belonged to the Zoological Laboratories at the University of Utrecht, and that a Dutch professor had brought to London. Replicas followed soon thereafter. The Smithsonian’s example is a replica of a Mayall replica. It is marked “COPIE / LEIDEN.”
Ref: J. Mayall, “Leeuwenhoek’s Microscopes,” Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society 6 (1886): 1047-1049.
J. van Zuylen, “The Microscopes of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek,” Journal of Microscopy 121 (1981): 309-328.
Currently not on view
overall: 3 in x 1 1/4 in x 1 1/8 in; 7.62 cm x 3.175 cm x 2.8575 cm
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Rijksmuseum voor de Geschiedenis
Science & Scientific Instruments
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Medicine and Science: Medicine
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National Museum of American History