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Nature Under Glass: Gallery of Victorian Microscope Slides

Bits of Ancient Egypt

Microscope slide containing specimens associated with mummies. Microscopes were a popular form of entertainment for science-obsessed people living in Victorian-era Britain.

(Image credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope Slides)

Victorians were also fascinated by Egyptian mummies. They were collected avidly and even unwrapped at events. Not surprisingly, mummies also found their way under the microscope. These slides contain, from left to right, a thin slice of mummy bone, a piece of cloth from a mummy, a slice of wood from a mummy's coffin and a fragment of an Egyptian pyramid.

Mummy's Coffin

Microscope slide containing specimens associated with mummies. Microscopes were a popular form of entertainment for science-obsessed people living in Victorian-era Britain.

(Image credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope Slides)

A view through the microscope showing wood from a mummy's coffin. Slides like these may seem bizarre, but they are most likely authentic, according to Lynk. Recognized slide mounters of the era made slides for the academic and medical community as well as for the public, and had personal connections to museums and societies that would have given them access to unusual specimens. "All of my research would suggest that there was very little, if any, fraud of that kind," he wrote to LiveScience in an email.