Thursday, July 11, 2019


Faith is a fine invention
For gentlemen to see;
But microscopes are prudent
In an emergency.
~Emily Dickinson

I've posted microscopic art before. Microscopes themselves can be very cool characters:

Microscope with ivory handle, 1680s
photo by Rama

Lucernal microscope

Microscope de bronze ciselé de François Laurent Villette Propriété du Musée des Hospices civils de Lyon, 1765
Aurélie Troccon et Manon Mauguin

Oppelt bronze microscope Germany, 1780
© Jorge Royan

A stand microscope created by Joseph Gutteridge, a weaver from Coventry
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Two microscopes, Dublin
photo by Haydn W Hammerton

One last quote by James Thurber:
"We'll try it," the professor said to me, grimly, ' with every adjustment of the microscope known to man. As God is my witness, I'll arrange this glass so that you see cells through it or I'll give up teaching. In twenty-two years of botany, I -' He cut off abruptly for he was beginning to quiver all over, like Lionel Barrymore, and he genuinely wished to hold onto his temper; his scenes with me had taken a great deal out of him.

So we tried it with every adjustment of the microscope known to man. With only one of them did I see anything but blackness or the familiar lacteal opacity, and that time I saw, to my pleasure and amazement, a variegated constellation of flecks, specks, and dots. These I hastily drew. The instructor, noting my activity, came back from an adjoining desk, a smile on his lips and his eyebrows high in hope. He looked at my cell drawing. "What's that?" he demanded, with a hint of a squeal in his voice. "That's what I saw, " I said. "You didn't, you didn't, you didn't!," he screamed, losing control of his temper instantly, and he bent over and squinted into the microscope. His head snapped up. "That's your eye!" he shouted. "You've fixed the lens so that it reflects! You've drawn your eye!"


HWY said...

These are wonderful...definitely works of art in themselves. The 1680s instrument doesn't *look* like a microscope, but at that time I guess it was the latest thing. :-)

The Lucernal microscope looks almost Art Deco to me, and since I'm a big fan of such, I love it.

The Thurber quote is great!

Linda B said...

One of Ingrid's favorite things is her microscope. She is constantly telling me her latest "sighting". Love this post & the pictures from the past, Tabatha, & the Thurber quote. Wouldn't he have been fun to meet?