Antique microscopes available to collectors are typically commercially manufactured devices from the 1800s that allowed scientists to view objects too small to be seen with just the eyes. Most microscopes from the 17th and 18th centuries were made by the scientists using them. They are now usually museum pieces.
One successful 19th-century microscope maker was Carl Zeiss from Germany. He began manufacturing single-lens instruments in 1847, and within 10 years, his company was making compound microscopes. Around the same time, German immigrants Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb began building microscopes in the United States. Other microscope manufacturers from the 1800s include Ernst Leitz of Germany, Camille Sebastien Nachet from France, and the British firm Watson and Son.