1893 text

An optical instrument used to enable objects to be seen in the dark. The name is derived from the Greek.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

5 Annotations

First Reading

Jesse  •  Link

From http://www.blackwellpublishing.co… a bit down...

"Volume 5 of the Latham and Matthews (1971) edition of Pepys' Diary identifies a scotoscope as a camera obscura.

Gerard L'E Turner has described it as a "rectangular box ... with a lens at one end in an adjustable tube, and a mirror set at a 45° angle to reflect light onto a horizontal groundglass screen". The principle is the same as in a pinhole camera.

The instrument-makers of Pepys day called the device a scotoscope, using the prefix derived from the Greek skotos, meaning darkness. Scotopic vision is "vision which occurs at low illumination through the retinal rods" (Walker 1995)."

Terry F  •  Link

Good microscopic observations require adequate light. When Hooke started using microscopes, no one had figured out a good method for providing it. He amplified the light to his microscope by placing a brine-filled glass globe between the light source and the microscope. He called this invention the scotoscope. In 1665, he shared his new views of tiny things in his book Micrographia. http://www.strangescience.net/hoo…

L&M identify the scotoscope ("dark"-scope) as a portable camera obscura. Image of a room-sized one: http://www.acmi.net.au/AIC/CAM_OB…

Nix  •  Link

As illustrated in this article (go to 4th page) --


-- the scotoscope is a device to focus candle or lamp light on the viewing area of the microscope, so it may be used indoors or at night.

bitter o salt  •  Link

camera obscura was a popular device for getting thy paintings/drawings in good perspective ala Vemeer. The game of lenses was played many ways, provided an income to Espinoza so that he had time to think and bring forth new concepts.

bitter o salt  •  Link

In the Gutenburg version, no mention of the scotoscope : the Microscope and light enhanser.
xref: micro: http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclo…
in microscope detail found at


I with the same sharp Penknife, cut off from the former smooth surface an exceeding thin piece of it, and placing it on a black object Plate, because it was it self a white body, and casting the light on it with a deep plano-convex Glass, I could exceeding plainly perceive it to be all perforated and porous, much like a Honey-comb, but that the pores of it were not regular; yet it was not unlike a Honey-comb in these particulars.

but with a very convenient augmentation of sky-light projected on the Object with a burning Glass, as I have elsewhere shew'd, or by looking through it against the light.

for us hois the Jstor connection fails.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.