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World's smallest microscope?

As you will already know, this magazine is aiming at the world's smallest invertebrates. And why not look at those world's smallest invertebrates by means of one of the world's smallest microscopes?

E.g. there is one extremely tiny microscope, the Leitz "Algensucher". We are not perfectly sure that it is actually the smallest microscope on Earth but it definitely comes very close.

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Fig. 1: A very small microscope (possibly the world's second-smallest microscope). It houses an internal glass stage for transmitted light scenarios.
Just for comparison we placed a huge archaic magnifier on the left side of the image. This big instrument features a length of 30 cm and a lens diameter of ample 9.5 cm. Its glass is archaic as well, with a slightly greenish tint and small air bubble inclusions. The magnification is about 1.5fold. Ideal for craft working and as a reading glass. It is a pity that we don't know anything about its whereabouts and production date. Obviously it is made of an exotic type of wood. Several nailed wooden patches are signaling a long usage period with need for repair. In case one of our readers should know more about this type of instrument we would be glad to receive the respective information.

But also when compared to the classic Kosmos "Taschen-Mikroskop" it becomes clear that the Leitz Algensucher is really tiny:

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Fig. 2: A KOSMOS "Taschen-Mikroskop", Algensucher type (left) and the much smaller Leitz Algensucher (right). Probably you are wondering about the inner construction and sample position? At this point it is already becoming clear that many of those extremely tiny instruments will have become misunderstood and as a consequence discarded a long time ago. But on closer inspection it becomes apparent that they are actually miniature marvels.

Let's have a look:

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Fig. 3: Total view of the tiny Leitz instrument. Height 27.1 mm, maximum diameter 20 mm, diameter on the base ca. 16 mm. Weight 19.8 g.

And where is the eye-piece?

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Fig. 4: Close-up view of the eye-piece lens of the tiny microscope. Free diameter 0.72 mm (!). Too small to look through?

Okay. In our next magazine issue we will discuss the usability of this bizarre instrument and provide an image taken trough its tiny opening. We will explain the positioning of the sample and how focusing is performed. Besides, we did make a precision measurement of the magnification as well and have to apologize that all this will be revealed not now, but in May.

© Text, images and video clips by  Martin Mach  (webmaster@baertierchen.de).
The Water Bear web base is a licensed and revised version of the German language monthly magazine  Bärtierchen-Journal . Style and grammar amendments by native speakers are warmly welcomed.

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