The Microscope

The evolution of microscope gathered momentum in the year 1674, when a Dutch cloth merchant
Antony van Leeuwenhoek first of all had a glimpse at a drop of lake-water via a lens made of glass
that he had ground himself. Through this simple device using a magnifying lens Leeuwenhoek first and
foremost ever had an ‘amazing sight’ of the most fascinating world of the microbes.

Later on, Leeuwenhoek critically and explicitly described the finer details of a plethora of microorganisms
viz., protozoa, algae, yeast, and bacteria to the august Royal Society of London (UK) in a
series of letters. It is worthwhile to mention here that the entire description was so precise and accurate
that as to date it is now quite possible to assign them into each particular genera without any additional
description whatsoever.
The earlier observations of microorganisms were made duly by several researchers chronologically
as given below :
Roger Bacon (1220–1292) : first ever postulated that a disease is caused by invisible living
Girolamo Fracastoro (1483–1553) and Anton von Plenciz (1762) : these two reseachers also
made similar observations, assertions, and suggestions but without any experimental concrete evidences/
Athanasius Kircher (1601–1680) : made reference of these ‘worms’ that are practically invisible
to the naked eyes and found in decaying meat, milk, bodies, and diarrheal secretions. Kircher was,
in fact, the pioneer in pronouncing the cognizance and significance of bacteria and other microbes in
Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723) : initiated the herculian task of ‘microscope making’
through his inherent hobby of ‘lens making’. During his lifespan stretching over to 89 years he meticulously
designed more than 250 microscopes ; of which the most powerful one could magnify about 200-
300 times only. However, these microscopes do not have any resemblance to the present day ‘compound
light microscope’ that has the ability to even magnify from 1,000-3,000 times.