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A Brief History Of The Microscope

10.09.2014 by Laurie Wood

A Brief History Of The Microscope

Microscopes are an iconic piece of equipment in any laboratory, and are one of the most influential scientific inventions ever made. Almost everyone can relate to the excitement of the first time they looked into the lens of a microscope and experienced for the first time the wonders of a hidden world not otherwise visible to the human eye.

Like many other iconic inventions there is some controversy regarding who invented the first microscope, and indeed as far back as the time of the ancient Greeks people were experimenting with the ability of glass to manipulate the size of objects.

Early precursors of the microscope included magnifying glasses, which were also used during early scientific investigations. Then during the late 1500’s Dutch spectacle makers Hans and Zacharias Janssen developed one of the first microscopes by placing multiple lenses in a tube, and in this way made an important discovery, namely that objects in front of the tube appeared much larger.

Thanks to the invention of the microscope some of the most important scientific discoveries were made. Indeed in 1665, Robert Hooke published his famous work Micrographia in which he outlined his research involving microscopes into a variety of biological organisms and inanimate objects. Through this work he was to make a very significant discovery, namely the cell. Soon after in 1675 Anton van Leeuwenhoek was to make further important discoveries thanks to the microscope, and indeed was the first to discover and describe red blood cells and a number of microorganisms.



In the following decades a number of advances in microscope technology were made making microscopes easier to use, as well as more accurate, and their popularity among the scientific community began to grow rapidly.

The dawn of the 20th century witnessed the development of an alternative to the light microscope known as the electron microscope. These devices used electrons rather than light to generate an image of the target. The development of this technology was representative of a huge advance in the field, given that these microscopes were capable of delivering a much higher resolution.



Today microscopes are highly advanced and still play a significant role in some of the most cutting-edge scientific research. Furthermore microscopes are now a staple in most laboratories, from schools to large scientific research centres and continue to delight and inspire people with the amazing insights they offer into a hidden world. Here at Edulab we have an amazing selection of laboratory supplies including a wide variety of microscopes to meet your needs. For more information about our range of products and services please do not hesitate to contact us and one our friendly team will be happy to help you with your enquiries.