18th Century Screw-Barrel Microscope, complete set

18th Century Screw-Barrel Microscope, complete set

Stock Number: FG_22020


Complete set of an excellent early screw-barrel microscope, circa 1725-1750, unsigned, in a fitted fishskin-coated wooden box with internal green felt lining.


The box, 5,7/8″ x 3,5/8″ x 2″ or 150mm x 93mm x 50mm



Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Scientific, Microscopy, Mineralogy & Gemmology, Natural history


For a detailed discussion about the history and development of the screw-barrel microscope, including this item, please refer to my website: https://www.microscopehistory.com/wilson-screw-barrel-1 .

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to CITES restrictions, ivory items were removed from this set. They include a “talc box” and the slides.

This all-brass screw-barrel microscope kit model became common from the early 18th century, continuing well into the second half of the century. Microscopes of this type appeared already in the time and production of the pioneering English manufacturers in the first decades of the century: Culpeper, Scarlett, and Sterrop, and continued into the century with very few changes. This is because this idea reached maturity already by ca. 1720 and became very common and in demand during the following years. The screw-barrel microscope allowed the use of microscopical slides of the type that was also used for the compound microscopes of the same century (such as those of Culpeper, Cuff, and Martin), but with optics that did not suffer from the common optical aberrations, and with magnifications that often exceeded those of compound microscopes. All this is in a compact device, easy to focus on, and convenient. Indeed, with the advent of single-lens field microscopes such as the aquatic and the botanical microscopes, designed to examine mainly opaque objects or organisms in vivo (thus with limited magnifications), stands and bases were often created that turn the screw-barrel microscope into a standing device for viewing transparent objects. Such is, for example, the scroll microscope and the combined aquatic and screw-barrel microscope.

Other items can be added upon request.

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IL Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh was the mythological hero of the cultures of ancient West Asia, who set out on a journey in which he sought youth and eternal life.
Fleaglass Gilgamesh is located in Israel. As an archaeologist researching the material culture of the distant past and using the microscope as a major research tool, for more than two decades I have collected microscopes from the first 300 years of existence of this amazing tool and researched the cultural context of their use. Passion has become an obsession and I cultivate the full and almost unique West Asian collection of historical microscopes. Respectively, I put up for sale surplus or interesting items from the collection. I would be happy to advise any interested collector free of charge. Needless to say, I would love to send photos, information and bibliographic references, and discuss the sale details of the items offered here for sale.

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