19th century compound micrscope
19th century compound micrscope

In about 1610, the Dutch lensmaker, Hans Jannisen, and his son Zacharias made an instrument consisting of a pair of lenses mounted in a sliding tube, which is regarded as the first microscope. The addition of a condenser lens to concentrate light on the specimen, a specimen stage and controls for moving the tube came quickly.

Britain became the major centre for the manufacture of microscopes but there was little further change in the design of microscopes until the late 18th century when compound lens were introduced to correct aberration. At about the same time, English manufacturers introduced a ball-joint at the base of the microscope which allowed it to be tilted for more convenient viewing.

In the early 19th century, the portable microscope, whose parts came in a small box and were fitted together for use, was introduced.

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