Microscope Museum

Collection of antique microscopes and other scientific instruments

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Microscopes as works of art as well as science

Antique microscopes are amazing scientific instruments, from times when craftsmanship was as important as functionality and performance. The beauty of these instruments is manifested in countless ways, including the history of their makers and their technological developments, and their contribution to the development of microbiology and other fields of science, and all combine to inspire a feeling of admiration that a microscope can be so beautiful, elegant, and functional after so many years. An antique microscope is a work of art as well as science.

The collection

This page describes a collection of microscopes, which started as a hobby some years ago, and is always being updated with interesting new instruments. Microscopes are tentatively organised by period (early to third quarter of 1800s, late 1800s to early 1900s, and 1920s to 1980s), by type, by maker or retailer, and by catalogue number in the collection (you can navigate through the instruments in this collection by clicking on ‘Microscopes’ on the lateral menu). Also included are a few replicas of antique microscopes made by me. Other items related with microscopy, such as lamps, microtomes and ringing tables, telescopes, scales, and other scientific instruments are available in this collection (to navigate these items, please click on ‘Other instruments’ on the lateral menu).

My main objective for showing these instruments here is to share information and promote the interest of other people for the history of microscopy and microbiology, particularly youngsters. Also, I would be glad to know more about these scientific instruments, including if some of the information on this page is eventually inaccurate or incomplete (please do get in touch if this is the case). Sometime in the future, I aim to make all this collection available in some space where it can be visited by everyone who likes microscopes and science. I also organise outreach events, including seminars and small exhibitions about the history of microscopy where some of these instruments are displayed.

Please also contact me if you have any antique microscopes for selling or donating (and, eventually, other interesting scientific instruments related with optics). I am always looking for new acquisitions of interesting instruments. And of course, any instruments kindly donated to this collection will be properly credited in any exhibitions or other events organised in the future (see also the Donated instruments link). Recently, I also started an online discussion forum, where anyone interested in antique microscopes can share information and discuss any topics related with these amazing instruments.

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Sources of information and image database about antique microscopes

Book references, online resources (including other collections), and other historical information about microscopes, including antique books, trade catalogues, excerpts of the Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society (JRMS; 1878 – 1918), and serial numbers of several historical makers of microscopes can be found in this page (most of the information about the microscopes in this collection, and their makers, was found in many of these outstanding resources). Please check the links on the lateral menu to access these materials.

To ease the visual search for specific instruments in antique trade catalogues, books, JRMS volumes and other sources, most figures of microscopes and other instruments related with microscopy engraved in these sources were organised in an image database that you can also access from the lateral menu.


A version of this webpage in Portuguese is available on www.museudomicroscopio.eu