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are lots of places focused on his biological observations - I'm looking
at the technology he is familiar with - such as his use of a lath - use
of capillary and then a new system for fluids.
Things he was familiar with
- Musing about the compressibility of air - observations.
- Comparison to a pipe organ.
- Distillers equipment.
- Melting glass tubes.
- Dark ground illumination.
- grenade - gunpowder - sulfur saltpeter charcoal 1675-01-22 ( needed safety glasses.. Pyrotechnics 101)
- salt crystallization
- load stone.
- lye and soaps
- He shaved - used a razor
- Has a lath
- 1679-02-21 mica "on Muscovy glass " Sometimes used for 'slides'.
- "Antichamber, and is very close joyned together with
Wainscot, having no other opening than one hole of an inch and a half
broad, and 8 inches long, [through which the wooden spring of my lathe
30 ) passes] towards the street furnisht with 4 windows, of which the
two lowermost open inwards..."
- "30 This wooden spring must have been that of a
"pole~lathe", fastened to the ceiling. Not having room enough in his
closet, L. passed the spring through a slit in the partition. By moving
the treadle the axle - round which the cord~ band is passed two or three
times - moves backward and forward. Lathes have been in use since the
16th century. From that time "pole~lathes" have sometimes been called
Observation of fluids
Originally in what I think were hand drawn capillary tubes - made
just before the experiment (would thus be sterile and free of dust). In
1675-01-22 letter he talks of coming up with a new method that he won't
For reference - Red blood cells are about 6-8 μm in diameter and
2-3um thick. Hair is about 40um in diameter, paramecium about 200um
long. Bacteria 1-2um.
" 15 or 20 times finer than a single thread of Silkworm" - about 4um
Methods kept secret
- "... Sir, be assured that my microscope showed the same as
clearly and distinctly as one can imagine to see figures with the naked
eye but the fault is mine, since I cannot draw and on the other hand since I have the intention to keep the method I use secret
from everybody. ..."
- "My method for seeing the very smallest animalcules and eels I
do not impart to others, nor that for seeing very many animalcules all
at the same time, but keep that for myself alone."
- "much more. when I said. [there were in it two or three kinds of
much smaller animals besides. which did not appear to him, and
which I could observe by other glasses and other methods. which
I still reserve to my self alone ] 9 ) . "
- " I hardly see my way to do this as I require my customary seat and instruments, which I cannot place everywhere for use. "
Book and other Dates
A more complete - but with more noise -timeline can be seen
- 1632-10-24 born
- 1632-10-31 Vermeer baptism
- 1632-11-04 Leeuwenhoek baptism
- 1653-05-05 21years old - Got power of attorney for William Davidson during first Anglo-Dutch war (1652-54)
- 1654-07-29 married Barbara de Mey
- 1654-10-12 Gun powder explosion in Delft - also the year he founded his shop.
- 1660-00-00 became lucrative chamberlain for the Delft sheriffs' assemble
- 1666-00-00 Barbara died in 1666
- 1668-00-00 Traveled to England - Vermeer paintings astronomer & geographer/survivor
- 1669-02-04 he was named a surveyor by the Court of Holland
- 1671-01-25 Leeuwenhoek married Cornelia Swalmius
- 1672-04-09 Delft sent troops to help defend against the invading French army
- 1673-04-23 - 1676-02-22 vol 1 Letters 1-21
- 1675-12-15 Vermeer Buried - but clues that Leeuwenhoek already had his secret methods.
- 1676-04-21 - 1679-02-21 vol 2 Letters 22 - 42
- 1677-09-05 mentor Henry Oldenburg died in London
- 1678-02-01 Empowered a Gouda notary to sell Vermeer's property to help pay Catherine Bolnes's creditors
- 1679-04-25 - 1682007-28 vol 3 Letters 43 - 69
- 1679-08-15 Appointed city inspector of imported and exported liquids / wine gauger
- 1682-11-19 Sold two bonds from the property of Willem Bolnes to help pay Catherina Bolnes' creditors
- 1694-06-06 wife Cornelia Johannes Swalmius buried
- 1723-08-26 RIP
- 1747-05-29 Leeuwenhoek's magnifying glasses auctioned