Compound microscope used to examine meat, France, 1851-1900

1851-1900 in France

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Compound monocular microscope, French, second half of 19th century

The inspection of meat was important due to the potential dangers associated with the product. For example, there have been numerous outbreaks of trichinosis due to poor meat hygiene. Trichinosis is an infection of the intestines that results in diarrhoea, muscle pains, fever, dehydration and swelling around the eyes. It is caused by a parasitic worm called Trichinella spiralis. Humans can swallow the larvae if it is present in raw or undercooked meat. Once in the stomach the worms hatch.

Meat inspections in abattoirs are one way to prevent outbreaks of the disease. This microscope has a glass plate with a grid etched on to its surface, which would have allowed close, systematic examination of meat samples.


Microscopy (Wellcome)
Object Number:
brass, glass, incomplete and iron
compound microscope
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • optical instrument
  • microscope
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • optical instrument
  • microscope

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