Maker's Name: 
Where made: 
circa 1900
5 × 2.5 × 2.5 cm

This is the Midgard Pocket Microscope. This microscope has a single simple lens with a magnification of 50x and a recess into which a slide could be fitted for examination. This model, the Midgard Nr 1, was very easy to use. The user simply placed the object of interest onto a glass slide, placed a second slide on top of the object as a cover, then slid the combined slides through the slot located on the side of the microscope. The two protruding bars attach to a spring within the Nr 1 that hold the slide in place once it is inserted. The eyepiece of the microscope could then be moved in and out to focus the image of the object of interest. This model also came with a welled slide that allowed the viewer to hold and inspect liquid samples.

Microscopes such as the Midgard became popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most of these microscopes were manufactured in France or Germany and this particular example was made in Germany. These types of microscopes became generally known as “Pocket” or “Universal” Microscopes. Due to their low-cost, durability, and functionality, Pocket microscopes were widely known and very popular.

Even though their design is relatively simple, microscopes such as the Midgard had a significant impact on the the general public’s appreciation of both science and the natural world by making the microscopic world accessible and exciting.

It was also a versatile scientific tool. As can be seen on the instruction manual that accompanies the Midgard Nr1, it was ideal for situations in which the specimen was too small to be observed under a magnifying glass and access to a larger and bulkier stand microscope would have been impossible. For example, the Midgard could be taken on field expeditions and used to examine botanic al, zoological and mineralogical specimens.

This item is part of the UQ Physics Museum Microscopes Tour
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