Compound microscope, London, England, 1863-1866

Smith, Beck & Beck

Binocular microscope by Smith, Beck & Beck, 1866, London, United Kingdom. Serial no. 4260, Microscope presented to Dr. Henry Sutton for his services in the cholera wards of the London Hospital

Dr Henry Sutton, a physician, was presented with this compound microscope for his work in the cholera wards of the London Hospital. Cholera epidemics spread across Europe and the rest of the world for much of the 1800s. In 1883, Robert Koch identified the cause of cholera as a bacteria he named Vibrio cholera. Many physicians such as Henry Sutton did not accept the germ theory of disease as the sole cause of cholera. Sutton preferred a theory of multiple causes that included environment, cleanliness and diet. The brass microscope was made by Smith, Beck and Beck, optical instrument makers based in London.

On display

Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Related people


Microscopy (Wellcome)
Object Number:
compound microscope
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • optical instrument
  • microscope

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.