The Zoo Under the Microscope

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The first microscopes had big failings. The image was dull, with color stripes and a rainbow glow. It was not so easy to observe in such an instrument: an unaccustomed eye could hardly make out anything in this interweaving of light and shadows.

Some scientists tried to build more powerful microscopes, they put various lenses in one or another combination into the tube — the magnification sometimes turned out to be very strong. But the colored stripes and the rainbow radiance grew so much that they almost completely overshadowed the image.

The Zoo Under the Microscope
The Zoo Under the Microscope
Then the masters tried to put the lens and the magnifier farther from each other. The image did get bigger, but it dimmed so that it was completely impossible to make out. It was terribly insulting: all hopes were crumbling, the microscope magnified more than a hundred times, but what was the use of it if it was impossible to make out the image!

In the end, only one glass began to be inserted into the metal plate. But then they did not spare time or labor on polishing this glass. These pea-sized lenses magnified a hundred times or more. As a matter of fact, these were powerful magnifiers, not microscopes.

Levenguk and his discoveries
Levenguk and his discoveries
The Dutchman Anthony Levenguk, a gatekeeper of a town hall, learned to perfectly grind tiny lenses. He was an unusually persistent man. Once Levenguk inserted a small lens, as large as a pin-head, into the hole in a wooden plank. He had been grinding and polishing it for several weeks. Then he took a thin glass rod, dipped it into a puddle in front of the house and then fixed the rod with a drop of water on a needle in front of the microscope. And then he saw the incredible! A whole menagerie swarmed in a drop of dirty water: furry monsters, a sort of balls surrounded by a crown of antennae, some flowers on the stems which were like bells. And all these creatures moved, stirring their tails. It was a whole new world, the existence of which was suspected by no one before Levenguk.

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