The McArthur Microscope

The McArthur microscope was designed in the 1930s by Scottish physician John McArthur, the first one made, carved by his own hand, of wood and shortly afterwards replaced by metal.  The design was improved many times over the years, both by McArthur himself and subsequently by companies licensed to do so.  In the mid 1940s a real improvement to the design that was particularly welcome was the moving of the ‘stage’ to the centre of the microscope, a change that remained in place for all further versions of the instrument.

McArthur created the microscope with the concept in mind of a portable instrument that could be used in extreme weathers, be it heat or cold and he continued to improve and add accessories to the initial prototype over many years.  The microscope was renowned for its sturdiness, despite being lightweight was widely heralded as revolutionary.  The microscope remained popular for decades, so much so that a cheaper, plastic version of it was made especially for use with an early  science course by the Open University who needed a solution for their home study biology courses.

The ioLight microscope can be seen as an evolution of the McArthur Microscope . The ioLight microscope delivers 1 micron resolution images directly to a mobile phone or tablet so that the images are easy to share and analyse. It has illumination from above and below the sample and folds flat to fit into a jacket pocket. ioLight also have a fluorescence version of the microscope.