Who invented the first microscope?

First Microscope

One of the first microscopes. Image source: http://www.dipity.com

In the late sixteenth century, two Dutch eyeglass makers discovered that objects appear magnified when viewed through multiple convex lenses in a tube. For this simple discovery, Hans Janssen and his son Zaccharias are considered by some to have invented the microscope around 1590. About this same time, another eyeglass maker from Holland, Hans Lippershey came up with the same idea and is also considered by some to be one of the inventors.

“The coining of the name “microscope” has been credited to Giovanni Faber, who gave that name to Galileo Galilei’s compound microscope in 1625. [wikipedia]

Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) is really considered to be the “father of microscopy” when he worked as an apprentice in a dry goods store where magnifying glasses were used to count the threads in cloth. He taught himself new methods for grinding and polishing lenses of great curvature which gave magnifications up to 270 times, the greatest known in that day. These led to the building of his microscopes and the biological discoveries for which he is famous. He was the first to see and describe bacteria, yeast plants, the teeming life in a drop of water, and the circulation of blood corpuscles in capillaries. During a long life he used his lenses to make pioneer studies on an extraordinary variety of things, both living and non living, and reported his findings in over a hundred letters to the Royal Society of England and the French Academy. [source about.com]