- Maker: Edmund Culpeper
- Date: 18th century
- Location: London, UK
- Collection: History of Sciences
Who was Edmund Culpeper?
Edmund Culpeper (1660-1738) was a British instrument builder who became famous in scientific circles for his high-quality optical instruments. Initially he built simple microscopes, but later he invented his own types, including the ‘Culpeper Tripod’ microscope. Culpeper had a workshop in London.
What is a ‘screw-barrel’ microscope?
A ‘screw-barrel’ microscope is a microscope with a single lens. The image could be focused by rotating the barrel in the cylinder. The ‘screw-barrel’ microscope was invented by Nicolaas Hartsoeker and James Wilson. The specimens were held in place by a spring. The ‘screw-barrel’ microscope you see here is an example of the ‘Hartsoeker-Wilson’ type.
What makes Culpeper’s version of this microscope special?
The earliest ‘screw-barrel’ microscopes had a hand grip. They were hand-held and operated. Culpeper changed this, mounting his versions on a stand. That made them easier to use. He also fitted his microscopes with a condensing lens or reflecting mirror to provide more light.