The microscope is one of the most important tools for researchers, scientists, students, and more, but this device didn’t just pop out of nowhere. While the technology has advanced to USB microscope cameras and handheld digital microscopes today, the most basic iteration of the microscope came with the invention of glass. By knowing the origins of the microscope, you can better understand the importance of it today.
A Dutch Beginning
The earliest and simplest inventions that could be categorized as microscopes were really magnifying glasses with one power. These were often used to look at fleas and other tiny insects, giving them the name “flea glasses.”
In 1590, a father-son team of Dutch spectacle makers, Hans and Zacharia Janssen, invented the first microscope by putting several lenses in a tube. Historians are not certain they were the very first ones to make this discovery, as Hans Lippershey filed the first patent for the telescope. In any case, the Janssens were the first to discover that they could magnify a small object close to them in much greater detail than with a simple magnifying glass.
The Idea Spreads
Galileo started experiments of his own after hearing of this discovery. He made improvements on both the microscope and the telescope by delving into the principles of lense and light rays. With the microscope, he added a focusing device and with the telescope he went on to make important discoveries among the stars.