Robert Hooke's compound microscope, c 1665.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate from 'Micrographia' (1665) by Hooke. Micrographia was the first important work in microscopy. Hooke used his compound microscope, with its two lens systems, to examine a flea, a piece of cork and many other specimens. The illuminating system was an oil lamp, a globe full of liquid to focus light onto the specimen. Hooke was the first curator of the Royal Society, and from 1674 demonstrated new experiments at the Royal Society's weekly meetings.