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Campani's Wooden Screw-Barrel Microscope

Joseph (Giuseppe) Campani, a well-known and popular Italian microscope designer, built this screw-focusing compound microscope about 1686. This simple microscope conforms to typical Italian design motifs of the period.

The Campani microscope features a dual screw-barrel focus that allows for adjustment between the specimen and the objective and also between the objective and eyepiece. The total body extension of this microscope covers a large range with the fully extended microscope being five inches tall and falling to three inches when the objective and eyepiece are positioned as close to the sample as possible. The specimen slide is secured between two plates located at the base of the microscope. Illumination for the microscope could be derived from either reflected ambient light or the microscope could be inverted to use the sky or a candle as a transmitted light source. This dual purpose illumination design allowed microscopists to examine both transparent specimens and the surface of opaque objects, such as wounds and scars (a major interest at the time).

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