Culpeper-Type Microscope

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This “Culpeper” type microscope is made from wood, cardboard and sharkskin (or shagreen). The base is circular and has three wooden vertical supports which connect the base to the round stage. The cardboard tube is covered with shagreen that is dyed green. The mirror is mounted on a wooden hinge attached to the center of the base. A circular mark with initials is burned into the underside of the base, but the letters are illegible. Focusing is achieved by moving the tube up and down. The base is circular and made from turned wood, and has three round wooden feet.
One of the main cottage industries of the city of Nuremberg was the manufacturer of toys. In the 18th and 19th centuries thousands of microscopes like the one in the Squibb Collection were produced. Besides the Culpeper type microscope, several other models were produced including a box shaped, compound monocular microscope attached to a base with a drawer, and a “drum” type microscope. Nuremberg microscopes are rare and sought after by microscope collectors.
Currently not on view
Credit Line
Gift of American Pharmaceutical Association and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
European Apothecary
after 1750
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
SAP 992
catalog number
Related Publication
The Billings Microscope Collection
The Origins and Development of the Microscope
Reginald S. Clay, B.A., D.Sc., F.Inst.P. and Thomas H. Court. The History of the Microscope
Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society
Urdang, George and Ferdinand William Nitardy. The Squibb Ancient Pharmacy: A Catalogue of the Collection
place made
Germany: Bavaria, Nuremberg
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
shagreen (overall material)
glass (overall material)
metal (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 32.7 cm x 12.6 cm; 12 7/8 in x 4 31/32 in
overall: 12 3/4 in x 5 in; 32.385 cm x 12.7 cm
National Museum of American History
Object Name