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Head of monocular microscope

Date: c 1852
Overall: 265 mm, 425 g, 43 mm
Medium: Brass, glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Head of Microscope
Object No: 00026866
Related Place:England,

User Terms

    This neatly cased microscope by Opticians J P Cutts, Sutton & Sons dates to the middle of the 19th century and is typical of instruments increasingly used by scientists in their investigations of the natural world around them. Light and portable, it was an important instrument for fieldwork.
    SignificanceInstruments such as this compound microscope provided scientists in the 19th century with a detailed window on the natural world, stimulating new areas of research and discovery.
    HistoryJ P Cutts, Sutton & Sons Opticians first appeared in Sheffield directories in 1825 and from 1851 also had an office in London. A notice in the London Gazette 15 May 1849 advised: "Notice is hereby given that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between John Preston Cutts, William Waterhouse Cutts, Henry Gilbert Cutts, and John Sutton, carrying on the business of Opticians, in Sheffield in the country of York, under the firm of J P Cutts, Sons, and Sutton, was, on the 1st of May instant, dissolved by mutual consent; and that the said business will in future be carried on by the said John Preston Cutts and John Sutton, under the said style or firm of J P Cutts, Sons, and Sutton, by whom all debts owing by or to the said partnership will be paid and received - Witnessed under our hand this 15th day of May 1849." John Preston Cutts died at the age of 71 in 1858. His partner John Sutton died in 1859.

    The earliest recorded experiments with microscope lenses were by Dutch spectacle - makers Zacharias Janssen and son in the late 16th century. In the 17th century, Dutch inventor Anthony Leeuwenhoek improved lense magnification significantly and he became the first person to describe bacteria. In England scientist Robert Hooke's beautifully illustrated work 'Micrographia', published in 1665, popularised the use of microscopes in science, and between 1730 and 1830 experiments with new dual lense microscopes improved microscopy even further. As a result compound (more than one lense) microscopes became popular with scientists in the 19th century, serving in the development of disciplines such as biology, geology, medicine and palaeontology. Charles Darwin carried a simple microscope with him during his voyage around the world aboard HMS BEAGLE 1831 - 1836.

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