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Musschenbroek hand microscope, Netherlands, 1671-1700

The mark of an oriental lamp and crossed keys at the base of the microscope shows that this item was made by Johann Musschenbroek, a famous scientific instrument maker from the Netherlands. This low-power microscope was designed to help dissection. A lens is mounted at the base of the eye cup and an object pin is attached to an adjustable arm which can be moved by three ball and socket joints. These joints are called Musschenbroek nuts after their maker. The Musschenbroek family were renowned for their instruments. This example has been partly reconstructed and is lacking the eye piece and lens. The lens could be changed to vary the optical magnifying power of the microscope.

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    Glossary: microscope

    Instrument that provides a magnified view of an object being studied usually by optical means. Electrons, X-rays and ultra-violet light can be used instead of visible light

    Glossary: microscopy

    The use of microscopes to study objects or samples. The three major types of microscopy are optical, electron and scanning probe microscopy.

    Glossary: dissection

    The cutting apart and separation of body tissues for the purposes of critical examination. Dissection of corpses is often carried out for the study of anatomy.