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Hooke’s Method of the Single Bead Lens

In suppliment to my last thoughts on the spread of the simple microscope, and the unlikelihood that Christiaan Huygens was not familar with the elemental aspects of this design (1677), here is Robert Hooke’s widely read description of just such a microscope, in Micrographia (1665), which of course Christiaan Huygens had in his possession (Spinoza’s letter 29) and translated from for the benefit of those who did not read English (for Johannes Hudde for instance):

And hence it is, that if you take a very clear a broken Venice Glas, and in a Lamp draw it out into very small hairs or threads, then holding the ends of these threads in the flame, till they melt and run into a small round Globul, or drop, which will hang at the end of a thread; and further if you stick several of these upon the end of a stick with a little sealing Wax, so that the threads stand upwards, and then on a Whetstone first grind off a good part of them, and afterward on a smooth Metal plate, with a little Tripoly, rub them till they come to be very smooth; if one of these be fixt with a little soft Wax against a small needle hole, prick’d through a thin plate of Bras, Lead, Pewter, or any other Metal, and an Object placed very near, be look’d at through it, it will both magnifie and make some Objects more distinct then any of the great Microscopes. But because these, though exceedingly easily made, are yet very troublesome to be us’d, because of their smallness, and the nearness of the Object; therefore to prevent both these, and yet have only two Refractions, I provided me a tube of Bras…

Though brief, there is certainly enough information here to experiment with and form the kind of microscope the Christiaan Huygens ended up producing.

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