History of Microscopes and Development of Cell Theory

  • First Basic Microscope

    Zaccharias Janssen and his father Hans put several lenses in a tube and made a very important discovery. The object near the end of the tube appeared to be greatly enlarged.
  • First Use of the Word "Cell"

    Robert Hooke published "Microgphia" a folio of thirty-eight copper-plate illustrations of objects drawn with the aid of his microscope.  He was the first to describe and coin the phrase "cell" when observing a slice of cork using a microscope power of 30X.
  • Francesco Redi Helped Disprove the Theory of Spontaneous Generation

    Francesco Redi, an Italian physician, did an experiment to determine if rotting meat turned into flies. He found that meat cannot turn into flies and only flies could make more flies. This was an important experiment because it helped to disprove the theory of spontaneous generation.
  • Antony Van Leeuwenhoek Makes Important Discoveries With Simple Microscope

    Antony Van Leeuwenhoek Makes Important Discoveries With Simple Microscope
    Antony van Leeuwenhoek a tradesman of Delft, Holland with no formal training discovered bacteria, free-living and parasitic microscopic protists, sperm cells, blood cells and more. All of this from a very simple device that could magnify up to 300X.
  • Period: to

    John Needham Soup Experiment

    From 1745 to 1748 John Needham, a Scottish clergyman and naturalist, showed that soup that had been exposed to the air contained many micro organisms. He claimed that there was a "life force" present in the molecules of all inorganic matter, including air and the oxygen in it, that could cause spontaneous generation to occur.
  • Discovered Cell Division

    Discovered Cell Division
    Remak discovered that the origin of cells was from the division of previous cells.
  • Robert Brown Discovered Nucleus

    Robert Brown Discovered Nucleus
  • Cell Theory Proposed

    Theodor Schwann and Matthias Schleiden formally propose the "Cell Theory." 
  • All Organisms are Made of Cells

    Theodor Schwann proposed that all organisms are composed of cells
  • Rudolf Virchow Aphorism Omnis Cellula e Cellula

    Rudolf Virchow Aphorism Omnis Cellula e Cellula
    Rudolf Virchow published his now-famous aphorism omnis cellula e cellula ("every cell stems from another cell"). He also stated that all diseases involve changes in normal cells.
  • Ernst Abbe Published his Work on the Theory of the Microscope

    Up to this point, much of the design of microscopes had been trial and error.  He made clear the difference between magnification and resolution and criticized the practice of using eye pieces with too high a magnification as "empty magnification."  His widely used formula to calculate resolution is based on his wave light theory.
  • Revolving Mount Microscope

    Revolving Mount Microscope
    Ernst Leitz microscope is introduced with a revolving mount
  • Mitosis!

    Walther Flemming discovers mitosis.
  • Microscope lamp with filters. 

    Microscope lamp with filters. 
    August  Kohler had worked out light source and condenser position to obtain the best image projection.  
  • Period: to

    More In Depth Study of Bacteria

    Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch both become engaged in microscopy and the study of bacteria.
  • Mitochondria Identified

    Mitochondria Identified
    Richard Altman identified the mitochondria using a dye technique, and called them "bioblasts"
  • First Commercial UV Microscope

    The first commercial UV microscope by Zeiss.  The resolution based on Abbe's formula is twice that of a visible light microscope
  • First Electron Microscope

    First Electron Microscope
    Max Knoll and Ernst Ruska construct the first electron microscope.
  • First Electron Microscope That Exceeds The Resolution of the Light Microscope

    Ruska builds the first electron microscope that exceeds the resolution of the light microscope.  It has an accelerating voltage of 75 kV.
  • First Scanning Electron Microscope is Built.

    First Scanning Electron Microscope is Built.
  • First Commercially Available Electron Microscope

    Siemens supplies the first commercially available electron microscope.
  • First Ultra-Microtome Built by Porter and Blum.

  • Lasers are Made Commercially Available

  • Scanning Probe Microscope is Invented

    Scanning Probe Microscope is invented and works by measuring current.
  • Scanning Laser Confocal Microscope is Commercially Available

  • Atomic Force Microscope is Invented

    Atomic Force Microscope is Invented
    Atomic Force Microscope is invented and measures force instead of current.