The Story of the First Microscope

Without a microscope we couldn’t have gone up close and personal with many things in the history of this world. Today we are able to peek at viruses, cells, make various scientific discoveries and for many of these we owe our gratitude to the people who were responsible for the invention of the microscope. Since time immemorial man has striven to look closely into things that have interested him and raised his curiosity. Perhaps early man saw that things appeared a little bigger than usual when looked at through a droplet of water. For a long time man has had the desire to observe things closely and the need to see closer was the necessity that made man invent the first microscope.

Portable Microscopes

The use of glass was already in vogue

Since early times as far back as the first century AD there has been recorded history of globes of glass being used to see things in a slightly magnified state. It was observed that when held against the strong sun, the light that refracted through the glass could make parchment burn. This irked the curiosity of the serious thinkers in those early days. It became known that by controlling the thickness of the glass the magnification could be changed. It was in the third century BC that Euclid wrote Optica which discussed the reflection of light in myriad details. However it is credited to a Frenchman named Bernard of Gordon who is supposed to have made the fist lenses. The word “lens” was derived from Lentel seeds to which the lens bore resemblance with.

Galileo was the first man who made the telescope

It was the great Galileo who is created the first telescope from lenses available in his times and it was the handiwork of Van Leuwenhoek a Dutch man who is said to have created the first microscope. From that time onward the simple lens mounted on a tube became the beginnings of what is today the modern microscope. With that sort of instrument men looked at and observed bacteria, protozoa, and even human blood. This sparked a race among different people across the globe and various people tried their hands at tinkering with the object.

portable microscopes

It was the masterstroke of Spencer that gave us the  first microscope

After Van Leeuwenhoek’s contribution it is Robert hook, who is credited for increasing the efficiency of the light microscope. However the modern day microscope owes its birth to the untiring efforts of Charles A Spencer in the middle of the 19th century and he can be called the father of the modern microscope. It was he who devised every aspect of the modern day microscope and gave it many of the features we still see today. Today thanks to Robert Spencer we can see closer than early man ever imagined and the microscope is being used in all fields of medicine, metallurgy and geology.

It was the curiosity of people across the ages that spurred early thinkers and a few of the people who were scientifically inclined and it is that which lead to the development of the modern day portable microscope. We, the people of today, would like to thank all the inventors who have toiled and preserved and without whose inquiring mind we would not have had the benefit of using one of the greatest tools— portable microscope, in the scientific arena.

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Comments ( 3 )
  1. USB microscope - a practical review - Portable Microscopes India
    January 8, 2014 at 2:47 am
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  3. USB Microscope - a Practical Review | Portable Microscopes India
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    […] to produce better and reliable results. Such technological innovations are being implemented on USB microscopes as well. These days, there are a few USB microscopes that will display and adeptly save magnified […]

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