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John Cuff Design:
Mr. Ellis' Aquatic Microscope

This unique unsigned Cuff-type microscope was termed Mr. Ellis' Aquatic Microscope and was probably made around the middle of the eighteenth century. It was a very simple low power dissecting microscope that fit the needs of Ellis and most other botanists of the time period.

The simple design features a large mirror that provides ample illumination, a large circular stage to accommodate a wide spectrum of samples, and a sturdy base that allows microscopists to examine aquatic organisms without excess vibration.

Aquatic motion was achieved by the sliding or swiveling the horizontal arm that holds the "objective" (magnifying lens element). The objective lens elements were provided with Lieberkuhn reflectors in order to obtain more even illumination in order to better image thicker specimens. This microscope is a precursor to the low-power monocular microscopes that were commonly used in the early twentieth century.

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