Screwbarrel microscope, England, 1700-1730

1700-1730 in England
Edmund Culpeper
Screwbarrel microscope by Culpeper in black leather case

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Screwbarrel microscope by Culpeper in black leather case
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Screwbarrel microscope by Culpeper in black sharkskin case, early 18th century

The screwbarrel microscope was introduced in the mid 1700s. It was very popular as it was a cheap, portable microscope that was simple to use. The lenses could be changed easily and were stored in ivory mounts. Six lenses were usually provided with the microscope. Focus was adjusted by screwing the barrel up or down. The ivory slides could hold four specimens. The micro-scope also came with extra slides and covers so more specimens could be studied. This item was made by Edward Culpeper (1670-1737), an optical instrument maker based in London.


Microscopy (Wellcome)
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
complete, brass (copper, zinc alloy), bras, glass, ivory, woo, wood (unidentified), leather and velvet
overall (case closed): 60 mm x 85 mm, 30 mm, .08 kg
overall (case open): 33 mm x 114 mm x 150 mm, .08 kg
screwbarrel microscope