Who Invented the Light Microscope?

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The first light microscope was invented by Dutch spectacle makers Hans Jansen and his son Zacharias in the late 16th century. The compound microscope used three draw tubes with lenses that were situated in the ends of flanking tubes.

Zacharias Jansen and his father’s design used a bi-convex eyepiece lens and a plano-convex objective lens, which was considered to be a very advanced design during the late 16th century. Observing a sample through this microscope required the user to hold it in their hand while sliding the draw tube in or out. The microscope was capable of magnifying samples as little as three times, or as much as 10 times when fully extended.