Assembling the parts

Phase V - Assembling the Parts

Position the lens

The lens had to fit snugly between the plates. The lens in the extant microscopes are bi-convex. The two most powerful are the only two blown, and they are closer to sphrical. If the lens had too much space, it could shift around. Too little space and hammering the rivets might crack it, which would make it unusable.

It was also a question of matching the lens to the specimen and what Leeuwenhoek expected to observe about it.

It makes sense that Leeuwenhoek would have a way to temporarily hold the plates while he positioned the lens. This was perhaps when he drilled or punched the lens holes and punched the circular area around it.

The temporary rivets could have been screws. Or Leeuwenhoek could have glued them with a water-solvent adhesive, for example.

Rivet the body plates together

When he was satisfied with the fit of body plates and lens, he would pound in the rivets. Remember that these body plates are less that two inches long and about an inch wide. Leeuwenhoek would use a small pointed hammer and repeated blows lest he shatter the lens.

At this point, he may have gone over everything with his file smooth any rough edges.

Screw the braking screw through the body plates to secure the focusing sytem

He had the two parts, the plates holding the lens and the focusing system he had made in Phases II and III and assembled in Phase IV. They came together when he put the braking screw through the nut, through the L-bracket, and finally through the body plates. This was the only place where a screw had to secure two pieces of metal and it had to be able to tighten securely, so he used a nut. The image on the right (click to enlarge) has the braking screw's nut in clearest focus.

The microscope, seen below in three views, was ready to use.