Early Spike-Stand “Fleaglass” Bone Microscope, ca. 1700

Early Spike-Stand “Fleaglass” Bone Microscope, ca. 1700

Stock Number: FG_22038


These are early forms of the single microscope made of bone, horn, or fruitwood. They have a single, biconvex lens mounted on the top of a stand facing a spike on a movable rod or a brass sprung pin, to which a flower or an insect could be speared for inspection (thus the term "flea glass", an English translation of the Latin name vitrum pulicarium). Focusing was achieved by moving the spike backwards or towards the lens.
A similar microscope appears in Johannes Zahn's (1702) book (last image). The instrument seen here dates between the late 17th to the mid-18th century.


Height: 9 cm



Country of manufacture


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


This is an early form of a spike-stand microscope made of lathe-turned bone (presumably bovine). This early and rare form of the Spike-Stand microscope is more or less similar to Zahn’s depiction, the latter was probably turned of wood. 

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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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