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Compound microscope, England, 1701-1723

A compound microscope has two or more lenses. This microscope has an eyepiece, a field lens and objective lenses. The large ball and socket joint can be used to tilt the microscope and also allows the body to be swivelled round to overhang the foot or base of the microscope. The specimen can be lit by a candle underneath the platform. John Marshall, who made this microscope, was an optical instrument maker based in London from 1685 to 1723. The microscope would have been difficult to set up without any instructions. Microscopes of this size would have cost around £5 10s (equivalent to £420 today) – three months’ wages for an unskilled labour at this time.

Object number:

A56281

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Glossary:

Glossary: microscope

Instrument that provides a magnified view of an object being studied usually by optical means. Electrons, X-rays and ultra-violet light can be used instead of visible light

Glossary: microscopy

The use of microscopes to study objects or samples. The three major types of microscopy are optical, electron and scanning probe microscopy.

Glossary: compound microscope

Microscope with multiple optical elements (lenses/mirrors). It has two microscopes in series, the first serving as the ocular lens (close to the eye) and the second serving as the objective lens (close to the object to be viewed).