Signed: Culpeper Fecit

Wilson screw barrel microscope, c. 1720

 

Culpeper Fecit, Wilson screw barrel microscope

Culpeper Fecit, Wilson screw barrel microscope

Culpeper Fecit, Wilson screw barrel microscope

Culpeper Fecit, Wilson screw barrel microscope

Culpeper Fecit, Wilson screw barrel microscope

Culpeper Fecit, Wilson screw barrel microscope

Culpeper Fecit, Wilson screw barrel microscope

Culpeper Fecit, Wilson screw barrel microscope

Culpeper Fecit, Wilson screw barrel microscope

Culpeper Fecit, Wilson screw barrel microscope

Culpeper Fecit, Wilson screw barrel microscope

Wilson screw barrel microscope

James Wilson (fl.1702-1710) published a description of his screw barrel microscope in the Royal Society's journal Philosophical Transactions in 1702. An improved form was subsequently illustrated and described in the various editions of Henry Baker's book, The Microscope made Easy, in the chapter entitled Of Mr. Wilson's Single Pocket-Microscope.

The microscope in this collection is engraved on the body Culpeper Fecit. Edmund Culpeper (1670-1737) is perhaps best known and justly famous for the compound microscope that he designed early in the 18th century. This type of microscope became extremely popular and was produced by many other opticians throughout the century and well into the next. Any microscope of this type is now often referred to simply as a "Culpeper microscope".

It is less well known that during his tenure he was equally famous for his simple microscopes based on the Wilson screw barrel design. He produced an improved form of these microscopes constructed both in brass or in ivory. See the article Edmund Culpeper and the Screwbarrel Microscope published in the Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society No. 88, 2006.

The microscope shown here comes equipped with six numbered objectives, two of which still retain their protective ivory caps. Also included are two ivory sliders, a partial wet slide, an ivory talc box containing mica discs and for observations of opaque objects, a specimen (stage) forceps or an ivory disk with light and dark colored sides that mount on the microscope using a decoratively engraved rectangular forceps plate (a Culpeper innovation). Also included is the extension needed to mount the objectives when using the stage forceps. All are housed in a black fish-skin covered wood box with a plush green lining. A similar instrument is located in the Science Museum London, inventory No. A234094.

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