This form was introduced around 1740, and was still popular in the nineteenth century. The U.S. Military Academy bought this example between 1834 and 1844. The “Soleil Fils Optien / RUE DE L’ODEON, 35 / À PARIS” inscription on the tube refers to J. B. F. Soleil, a French optician who opened a shop at this address in 1825 and who, for a while, used the term “Fils” to distinguish himself from his father, who also made optical instruments.
This is now incomplete. It has the mirror and window frame, but the microscope has been lost.
Ref: Deborah Warner, “Projection Apparatus for Science in Antebellum America,” Rittenhouse 6 (1992): 87-94.
Currently not on view
Object Name
solar microscope
date made
ca 1840
Soleil, Jean Baptiste Francois
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Scientific Instruments
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
U.S. Military Academy
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.