Through My Old Microscope

I’ve recently found the microscope that I had when I was a kid. In a rush of excitement, I cleaned it up, created slides by breaking a transparent plastic chocolate box, collected my specimens and took photos by just holding the camera lens up to the eyepiece. Enjoy. (The images below are 200–400×.)


Red blood cells, Homo sapiens (Me) – The cells are the small red things (6–8 μm), the big thing containing them is not a cell, it’s a drop of blood.

Toilet paper. Yes, it looks disgusting but it’s only fair, considering its use. They may make it look nice to the human eye, with hearts and flowers on it but what you see here is much more honest. If there’s one thing in the universe that has the right not to be beautiful on the inside, it’s toilet paper. You just got to excuse it for that.

Saliva, Homo sapiens (Me again. I don’t remember eating something like that though.) – You can see the transparent epithelial cells damaged by the toothpick I used to get them on the slide. Again, I seriously don’t know what that thing in the middle is.

Needle tip

White grape skin, Vitis vinifera – Cell membranes and chloroplasts (green little things, 5 μm) are visible.

Foot, Musca domestica – I was on the lookout for houseflies once I found the microscope. I got lucky the day after. At least I thought so, until I saw this. Definitely not the prettiest foot I’ve seen. I mean, it has ugly feet even for a fly. I bet there are decent flies out there with much nicer feet than this. In fact I declare this to be my research agenda for the next three years.

Now that I’ve recollected the old joy of playing the biologist, I started looking for a new professional (compound) microscope to buy – not for research, obviously, but to see/photograph things like these. I’ll be happy to listen if you have any suggestions.



This is my dear antique microscope; metal body, made by the Soviet Russian company OПTA, model УМ-401П-1 No9206. I remember that my father had bought it at a flea market.
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