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Dutch Side-Pillar Microscope

Dated before the mid-eighteenth century, this Dutch wooden and brass optical instrument is an early example of a side-pillar microscope that features a rotating diaphragm disc. The illustrated model of the instrument featured below was based on a photograph of the original instrument, which were published in Maria Rooseboom's Microscopium.

The microscope has a turned wood body and a combination circular base and stage with adjustable brass feet. A single side-pillar, spring-loaded brass mount and body ring support the body of the instrument, which can be rotated to image specimens that do not easily fit on the stage. The microscope body may alternatively be moved up and down the side-pillar to achieve coarse focus. Though it is not included in the illustration provided here, the unsigned instrument also boasts a substage, rotating disc filled with graduated diaphragms that was the precursor of the microscope condenser. The original Dutch microscope is currently housed at Museum Boerhaave, also known as The National Museum for the History of Science in Leyden, Netherlands.


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