A Brief History of the Stereoscopic Microscope

Early Years of the Sterescopic Microscope

The Stereoscopic Microscope traces its origin to a 17th century monk, Chérubin d’Orléans. Chérubin was inspired by the binocular designs of his contemporaries in 1645. Although it is assumed that Chérubin’s goal was not to create a three-dimensional image, he believed that using two eyes to view a specimen would result in greatly improved image quality. It would take nearly 200 years for the principle of stereoscopic vision to be understood and documented.

By 1853, John Leonhard Riddel, a chemistry professor in New Orleans, United States, presented a microscope with a binocular design vastly modernized compared to Chérubin’s design. Although Riddel’s microscope presented a three-dimensional image, many were confused by the instrument because it displayed images upside down.

In 1890, Horatio S. Greenough, a recognized biologist and zoologist in the United States introduced what would be known as the Greenough principle, a design that is still used by Stereoscopic Microscope manufacturers today.

Best Stereoscopic Microscope

The Stereoscopic Microscope Today

Building upon the Greenough principle, in 1957 the American Optical Company began to standardize the design of Stereoscopic Microscopes in what they named Cycloptic. A couple years later, Bausch & Lomb’s innovation, StereoZoom, introduced a stepless magnification changer, akin to the zoom functionality in digital SLR camera lenses today.

Although often overlooked, microscopes play a crucial role in the development and manufacture of products used throughout the world on daily basis -- ranging from medical applications, high-tech applications, forensics, and home hobbyist use.

The increasing move towards miniaturized technology, including smartphones, smartwatches, wearable tech, and more have spurred interest and growth in the microscope industry. Looking for the perfect stereoscopic microscope for your needs? Check out our Best Stereo Microscope Roundup with the best picks for any budget.


---References: http://www.leica-microsystems.com/science-lab/the-history-of-stereo-microscopy-part-iii/

Stereoscopic Microscope

Cherubin's Early Microscope

Stereoscopic Microscope

American Cycloptic Stereoscopic Microscope