French made (Chevalier) student brass Microscope 1840 on (Arsmachina)

"In the same way that binoculars can bring distant things near to you or an aqualung can allow you to see the world of underwater life, this wonderful instrument enlarges the naturalist's world immeasurably. It brings to life the tiny world that swarms all around you in a drop of pond water or in the water from your butt or gutter. The microscope allows you to examine the composition of a bird's feather or the delicate structure of a fly's wing. It makes you realize for the first time that you are really a Gulliver in Lilliput. With this type of instrument you can only see semi-transparent things. To prepare a specimen you must cut a very thin slice of it (a section), add a few drops of a biological dye (called a stain) and mount the section on a glass slide."

THE AMATEUR NATURALIST © Gerald Durrell and Lee Durrell 1982

Early Microscope Glass Slides

   Sugar Crystals                  40X.            


 Salt Crystals             40X       



40X (Thanks to Bill Walker)



      Leaf            100X    

  Human Hair           100X        

     Bird Feather                   500X             

    Butterfly  Scales

Small Tortoishell butterfly through a stereo microscope (Thanks to Kevin Smith http://www.kevsmith.com)

   Snow Crystal   



Drum  microscope - inexpensive field or collectors ("pocket") light microscope made from 1850 through to 1920's

(Antiques of Science and Technology)

My dear Gerald Durrell,

I wondered, after our conversation the other day, if it might not assist your investigations of the local natural history to have some form of magnifying instrument. I am therefore sending you this pocket microscope, in the hope that it will be of some use to you. It is, of course, not of very high magnification, but you will find it sufficient for field work.

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

Theo. Stephanides

P.S. If you have nothing better to do on Thursday, perhaps you would care to come to tea, and I could show you some of my microscope slides.

Letter to Gerald Durrell in Corfu  (about 1935)


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