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The Galileo Microscope

Although this seventeenth century microscope has been attributed to Galileo, a close inspection of the construction details indicates that it was made in the late 1600s, about 50 years after the famous astronomer-scientist's death.

This microscope employed a screw-barrel focus mechanism, a more advanced design that replaced an older sliding tube assembly used in the famous Janssen and other previous microscopes. Focusing this microscope was achieved by twisting the barrel to move it either closer for farther from the specimen. There are two independent barrels, one for the eyepiece and one for the objective. The microscope is elegantly made with a brass body and elaborately scrolled legs. A limitation of this microscope is the restriction of only being useful with ambient reflected light, because it has no means to view specimens with transmitted light.

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