Microscopes are unique tools that allow us to see the tiniest of objects under a magnifying light. Let us find out how these wonderful devices were discovered....
Today, almost every procedure or analysis of an experiment or medical condition is done with the help of a microscope. Microscope has become indeed an important aspect. Microscopes are unique tools that allow us to see the tiniest of objects under a magnifying light.
Researchers generally use these brilliant tools to see organisms that are both helpful and harmful to the human body. Let us find out how these wonderful devices were discovered....
How was microscope discovered?
It is believed that long before in an unrecorded past, someone picked up a piece of transparent crystal which was thicker in the middle than at the edges and looked through it, and discovered that it made things look larger. Someone also found that such a crystal could focus the sun's rays and set fire to a piece of paper or cloth.
It was also found that magnifiers and "burning glasses" or "magnifying glasses" are mentioned in the writings of Seneca and Pliny the Elder, Roman philosophers during the first century A. D., but they were not used much until the invention of spectacles which was towards the end of the 13th century. They were named lenses because they were shaped like the seeds of a lentil.
The earliest simple microscope was merely a tube with a plate for the object at one end and, at the other, a lens which gave a magnification less than ten diameters -- ten times the actual size.
These excited a general wonder when used to view fleas or tiny creeping things and so were called as "flea glasses."
Around 1590, two Dutch spectacle makers, Zaccharias Janssen and his son Hans were experimenting with several lenses in a tube and in the process discovered that nearby objects appeared greatly enlarged. That was the forerunner of the compound microscope and of the telescope.
The first of the kind of these tools was the optical microscope and it was developed in the year 1590 in Netherlands. However, the real credit to the first official microscope has to be attributed to Galileo for his development of microscope in the year 1625.
The first documented use of microscopes was between 1660 and 1670. They were used in England and Italy in order to analyze the extensive structure of the lungs. By 1676, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek started as an apprentice in a dry goods store where he found that magnifying glasses were used to count the threads in cloth. He taught himself new methods for grinding and polishing these tiny lenses that had great curve and discovered that they gave magnifications up to 270 diameters, the finest known at that time. These led to the building of his microscopes and the biological discoveries.
He was the first to see and describe bacteria, yeast plants, the teeming life in a drop of water, and the circulation of blood corpuscles in capillaries. He used his lenses to make pioneer studies on a variety of things. He reported his findings in over a hundred letters to the Royal Society of England and the French Academy.
Robert Hooke later re-confirmed Anton van Leeuwenhoek's discoveries and made a copy of Leeuwenhoek's light microscope by adding some improvements upon his design. Some more major improvements were made until the middle of the 19th century. Then several European countries began to manufacture fine optical equipment.
Microscopes have gone through several developments and today you can find a modern light microscope in almost every high school, university, and hospital and research facility in the world.