Engraving
Robert Hooke (1635—1703).
Micrographia, or, Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses.
London: John Martin and James Allestry for the Royal Society, 1665
Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library
Astor Library

 
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Although Robert Hooke's Micrographia was not the first book to reproduce microscopical observations, it was the first devoted to them, and the first to reproduce observations made with Hooke's newly perfected compound microscope. It was also the first book to include detailed illustrations for each section of text, drawn and in some cases also engraved by the author himself. Hooke observed the structures of many common things, such as woven cloth, the eye of a fly, and human hair. In describing the honeycomb structure of cork tissue, he coined the use of the word "cell" in biology. His engravings of the flea (shown here) and the louse are reported to have changed the hygiene habits of many of his contemporaries. The impact of this book was tremendous, and Hooke's name became synonymous with microscopical observations.


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