Van Leeuwenhoek’s Animalcules

A pioneering observation of bacteria was recorded on this day in 1683, when Anton van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch draper who became interested in microscopes after first using them to inspect the thread counts of the fabrics he worked on, wrote a letter to the Royal Society that described the “very little animalcules, very prettily a-moving,” which could be seen in a sample of plaque van Leeuwenhoek had scraped from his teeth and placed under a microscope lens. You may use the comment thread on...

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