Microscopy Museum at LOCI

The Microscopy Museum is located at 271 Animal Sciences, 1675 Observatory Dr., Madison WI 53706 and can be viewed by appointment by contacting Kevin Eliceiri.

Antonie van Leeuwenhoeck Microscope
c. 1665

Replica made by Nolie Mumey, M.D.
Denver, 1938 

LOCI's Antonie van Leeuwenhoeck microscope is a 1938 reproduction made by Dr. Nolie Mumey of an original 1665 model. The specimen is mounted on a sharp pin in front of a single, hand-blown lens and adjusted by two screws: one controls distance between the specimen and lens and the other adjusts the height of the specimen.  Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first person to observe and describe single-celled organisms, including spermatozoa, which he called "animalcules," and though he received no formal education in science, his detailed letters to the Royal Society from 1673 to 1723 preceded his designation as the "Father of Microbiology."  

Francois-Vincent Raspail Aquatic Microscope
c. 1840

No Serial

Charles Darwin took the most powerful portable microscope available in the 1820s aboard HMS Beagle: a simple modified Ellis-aquatic design manufactured by Robert Bancks (Banks) and Sons of London and recommended to him by botanist Robert Brown. Though limited in depth of field and working depth at higher magnifications, Darwin returned to this design throughout his career, and commissioned a similar microscope with a wider dissecting dish by Smith and Beck in 1848 for his work on barnacles.  The Francois-Vincent Raspail Aquatic Microscope at LOCI is similar in design to the Ellis-aquatic manufactured by Robert Bancks.

M. Pillischer Microscope London No. 221
c. 1862

No Serial
In 1847, after his trip aboard the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin purchased a compound microscope from Smith and Beck for a small fortune to assist in his studies of Cirrepedia (barnacles) prior to his publication of On the Origin of the Species. Darwin's international success led to the reproduction of his compound microscope by Victorian era instrument maker Moritz Pillischer of London in 1862.

Bausch and Lomb Monocular Dissection Microscope 
c. 1892
Serial #104580
25 mm Hastings Triplett
Botanical style instrument based on Joseph Zentmayer design

Bausch and Lomb was started by John Jacob Bausch in 1853 as a small optical shop in Rochester, New York, and became the Bausch and Lomb Optical Company after Henry Lomb joined during the American Civil War in 1863 following his post in the army. The first B&L compound microscope was produced in 1874 and by 1903, B&L had patents for microscopes and binoculars. Over the next century, B&L became the third largest supplier of microscopes in the world.

Bausch and Lomb Microscope Lister Limb Model 
c. 1887
No Serial

Compound Monocular Microscope
c. 19th century
No Serial


Vintage Brass Textile Micrometer

Chronik Bros Textile Micrometer
c. 1908

Serial #2232 
Pat. OCT. 20-08
Chas S. Lowinson Sole Agent N.Y. 
Pat. Sept. 20-10

This vintage textile micrometer was used in the textile industry to count the number of threads per inch in a textile. It was patented in 1908 and 1910 by Charles Lowinson and manufactured by Chronik Bros. of New York. The micrometer is brass and has a built-in microscope. A rotating wheel moves the microscope and pointer across fabric and measurement scale. The scale has three sides ruled with different units; it rotates so the user can easily select which scale they want to use. 

Bauch and Lomb Microscope

Bausch and Lomb Microscope
c. 1909

Serial #78014

R&J Beck's Limited New Continental Microscope 
Williams Brown & Earle
c. 1902

Serial #21131
From Historic Camera: The Becks were nephews of Joseph Jackson Lister, who was a partner to Richard and Joseph's father as a wine merchant and a respected British optician and physicist who experimented with achromatic lenses. Lister perfected an arrangement for the optical microscope and Lister's law of aplanatic foci remained the underlying principle of microscopic science. In commissioning the manufacture of his improved microscope, Lister worked with James Smith, an employee of William Tulley to create the stand. James Smith went on to establish his own optical instruments workshop in 1837. Through this relationship, Lister arranged for his nephew, Richard Beck to be and apprentice under Smith in 1843. Richard was not excelling in schooling and was in need of a vocation. In 1847 James Smith entered into partnership with Richard Beck, and the company was renamed Smith & Beck. 

James W. Queen & Co Tourist Portable Microscope 
c. 1883

No Serial
From the 1883 Queen Catalog: "This microscope, now for the first time introduced by us, is made portable, to meet the want of a compact instrument for use at the seaside, etc. It folds into a space about 6 1/2x3 1/4x2 3/8 inches. It is of brass throughout, handsomely finished, has broad and firm tripod base, axis for inclination to any angle, plane and concave mirrors, with adjustments for obliquity. For illumination of opaque objects, the mirror bar may be removed and replaced in the reverse position, thus bringing mirrors above the stage. The instrument stands 12 inches high when draw-tube extended (as shown in illustration).Society-screw, carrying an adapter with an achromatic object-glass of 4/10 inch focus, dividing to 8/10, which gives powers ranging from 40 to 140 diameters."

Bausch and Lomb Microscope Rochester, NY
c. 1912

Serial #89633

Reproduction Holmes Stereoscope

Reproduction Holmes Stereoscope
c. 1860s
No Serial

Oliver Wendell Holmes created a deliberately unpatented, economical hand viewer and promoted the creation of stereograph libraries in the 1860s.

Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Microscope
c. 1887

Serial #120583
In 1849, Karl Kellner founded the Optical Institute in Wetzlar, Germany. Telescopes were the original emphasis, but within a few years microscopes took over as the main product. The company hired Ernst Leitz in 1865, who took over the company in 1869 and renamed it Optical Institute of Ernst Leitz. A turret for 5 objectives was introduced in 1873, and the company’s reputation grew rapidly. In 1889, the company had 120 employees and produced its 15,000th microscope. 


Carl Zeiss Jena Microscope
c. 1912

Serial #180272

Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Co. Microscope
c. 1917

Serial #190363

Bausch and Lomb Microscope
c. 1920

Manchester, NY 
Serial #149259

Bausch and Lomb Microscope

Bausch and Lomb Microscope
c. 1920

Serial #146178

Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Co. Microscope

Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Co. Microscope
c. 1938

Serial #333406

Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Co. Microscope

Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Co. Microscope
c. 1928

Serial #266321

Bausch and Lomb Petrograph Polarizing Microscope

Bausch and Lomb Petrograph Polarizing Microscope
c. 1940s

No Serial
This monocular microscope incorprated many aspects of the modern optical microscope, including a condenser lens with polarizers. Belonged to UW Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology Ken Todar.