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As an archaeologist, microscopy plays a crucial role in my profession. I started collecting microscopes when I needed a good portable polarizing microscope for fieldwork, but I couldn't find any satisfactory instruments. My search for a better microscope led me to explore past models and design my dream microscope. Over time, I have added milestone microscopes of significant historical importance to my collection. This online catalog showcases my collection of historical microscopes.

About myself

I am an archaeology professor specializing in microarchaeology, which involves using scientific methods to study archaeological materials. I focus on the technology and origin of archaeological ceramics using mineralogical and geochemical processes. I studied archaeology in 1981 at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Since 1989, I have worked as a petrography researcher at the Israel Antiquities Authority. I earned my doctorate from Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1991 and became affiliated with Tel Aviv University in 1996. I served as the Chairman of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Humanities during my time there. In 2016, I was invited to join the Department of Bible, Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, where I established an international academic program to study archaeological materials and heritage sciences. I have published nearly 250 scientific articles over the past 40 years since setting up my first microarchaeological laboratory.

Apart from being an archaeologist, I'm also passionate about collecting and studying historical microscopes. I've gained extensive experience in microarchaeology over the past forty years, using microscopes every day to teach, practice, and examine. I've had to use micro-techniques in non-traditional settings, such as in the field, remote storage facilities, museums, archaeological excavations in remote locations, and other unusual situations. As part of my work and personal interest, I've researched the history of solutions developed over the past 200 years for scientists working outside their labs and have published several articles on the topic. Additionally, I've created my own field microscope, which is now patented and commercially produced, and I use it regularly for my fieldwork.


This website showcases my collection of over 100 historical microscopes, including some milestone models used by the pioneers of microscopy, microbiology, bacteriology, geology, and other scientific disciplines. It includes simple, compound pre-achromatic and achromatic landmark instruments representing the evolution of the compound microscope, and lastly, my design of a practical field microscope.

Please feel free to ask any legitimate questions or make comments.


Policy of the Descriptions and References Appearing on this Website


In the mature stage of collecting, it is important to establish goals and boundaries. At this point, a collector shifts from being a hoarder to a curator, focusing on organizing their collection. It's also a stage where the collector learns to let go. During my travels around the world, I visited many collections and met countless collectors. For example, an esteemed collector from Italy impressed me when he decided to concentrate his collection on timekeeping after years of collecting primarily Italian early scientific instruments. He sold most of his other pieces and brought this aspect to a state-of-the-art level. However, some collectors I encountered tended to purchase anything without much thought, as if they were on a binge. Therefore, at a specific stage of my collecting, I defined the boundaries of interest for this collection and promptly gave up items that didn't meet this criteria to make room for those that did. This collection is limited to 120 items, which represent significant milestones in the history of the microscope, from its inception to the early 20th century. 


As an archaeologist with more than forty years of experience, I specialize in the scientific applications of the discipline. I have a strong belief that every artifact has a broad cultural, social, economic, and historical context, and this is particularly true for microscopes. Typically, the history of scientific instruments, including microscopes, is approached in a functional and catalog-based way. However, I have developed a different perspective that examines ideas related to microscopes and their users, rather than just the instruments themselves. I view the microscope as a three-dimensional embodiment of its social and economic background, and my descriptions reflect this point of view.

I want to emphasize that engineers should avoid writing history, just as historians do not practice engineering. This website will serve as a platform for ongoing updates and discussions on this active topic.


Traditionally, prototypes have been named after human names, mainly due to the Anglocentric nature of literature. However, this trend is often unnecessary and historically inaccurate. While it is appropriate to name a type after its historically recorded inventor, such as the Cuff microscope, this is rarely the case with 18th-century microscopes. James Willson did not invent the screw-barrel microscope, Edmund Culpeper was not the first inventor of the double tripod microscope, and John Ellis had little to do with the idea of an aquatic microscope. Cary and Gould also only minimized an existing design for their toy microscope. Therefore, it is best to avoid using human names to describe these prototypes unless there is a justifiable reason to do so.


All the items showcased on this website are exclusively from this collection and are accompanied by my original photographs. Therefore, they are subject to copyright. Any other graphic materials that have been used are in the public domain. In case there are any similar items in other collections, a URL link has been provided for cross-referencing purposes.

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