About Microscopes

A doorway into another, and much smaller universe! The microscope, once a fixture in every educated Victorian household, struggles these days to keep up with the popularity of the telescope. Why is this? Perhaps looked on as too serious an instrument for pleasure, only for medicine and "hard science", the microscope is a most overlooked and wondrousl device, and truly suitable for children of all ages.

The microscope for the amateur and nature lover comes in two basic forms; the microscope, and the so-called biological, or microscope. The differences are simple. The stereo microscope uses two objectives, or magnifying lenses, and two eyepieces, and so forms a three dimensional view of the subject. The biological type uses only one objective lens at a time, and maybe one or two eyepieces, to form a two-dimensional, but more highly-magnified view of the subject.

For a first microscope, and especially for a child, we'd recommend the stereo version, and the reason is simple. As we learn to discover our world, we use all of our senses, in particular our sight. We see in three dimensions, and we learn how things work in the same way. The stereo microscope acts as an extra powerful pair of eyes and allows us to get extremely close to what we see, but not to lose sight of what we are looking at. This may seem obvious, but it's a very important point! A common insect, or a leaf, or even a torn piece of paper may be interesting if dissected into component parts and examined at hundreds of times magnification, but these common objects are breathtakingly beautiful when viewed in 3D. The whole world takes on a new and dramatic appearance under the stereo microscope. We love it!

If, on the other hand, your tastes are for examining the worlds within a drop of pond-water, or scrutinising tiny structures, then a compound microscope may be the way to go. We are currently sourcing new suppliers of biological microscopes that actually work as they are supposed to work! All microscopes look similar, at least to an extent, but the would-be buyer has to be careful. The microscope, even in it's simplest form is an extraordinarily capable instrument, but the buyer must be aware that most inexpensive microscopes have limitations. For example, without a functioning condenser (a system of magnifying lenses directly under the stage), high powers (anything around 400X or higher) may prove quite disappointing: images will be dim and not as sharp as you would wish.

We are currently in the process of sourcing new suppliers for fully-equipped microscopes that meet our standards, and at the lowest possible prices of course!

At the same time, you might prefer an older microscope, one that has stood the test of time. We can service older microscopes of every kind, and always have a good selection of used 'scopes. These can offer a significant value, and properly cared for should last many lifetimes.


Our most popular seller is the Small Stereo Microscope. Well constructed, it will last a lifetime. It has a fine optical system giving a choice of magnifications of 20X and 40X, using wide-field eyepieces, and allows the user to choose between transmitted light for transparent specimens, and direct light for opaque specimens. It comes complete with two interchangeable specimen stages, rubber eyecups for more comfortable viewing, and a dust cover. Not too big for a child, and not too small for an adult, this instrument could well be a companion for life!   


For some people, a portable hand-magnifier attached to their key chain is indispensable. We carry a variety of small well-corrected magnifiers for every budget. Small enough to disappear into a pocket, but with great performance!