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Detail of side-pillar microscope

The important role of instrument makers in the history of science is increasingly being acknowledged. Their practical knowledge is no longer seen as 'inferior' to theoretical knowledge, and in many cases the false distinctions between scientist and artisan have been removed. But instrument makers in the 18th-century had varying degrees of knowledge of natural philosophy. Some were involved in the work of scientific societies, some promoted natural knowledge, and some altered their instruments to cope with the demands of their clients. Individual makers sometimes combined several of these activities in their work.

John Cuff and the 'New-Constructed' Microscope

This article discusses the design and popularisation of a type of microscope proposed in 1743 by Henry Baker, a prominent natural philosopher.

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George Lindsay's Royal Microscope

Lindsay designed an ingenious pocket microscope, which was presented to King George II.

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Benjamin Martin and Microscope Compendia

These compendia, which contain a full set of microscopical equipment, were popular in the 18th century.

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Opening Times

Following Government guidance, all University of Cambridge Museums are closed until further notice, to help protect visitors, staff and the wider community