Leeuwenhoek Microscope (Replica)

Leeuwenhoek Microscope (Replica)

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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 purchased this example from the Rijksmuseum voor de Geschiedenis der Natuurwetenschappen in Leiden. The inscription reads “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
Object Name
date made
associated dates
1961 05 13 / 1961 05 13
associated place
Netherlands: South Holland, Leyden
Physical Description
metal, brass (overall material)
overall: 1 in x 3 in x 1 in; 2.54 cm x 7.62 cm x 2.54 cm
overall: 3 cm x 2.3 cm x 9 cm; 1 3/16 in x 29/32 in x 3 17/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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