All organisms are made of cells. A cell’s structure is closely related to its function. The discovery of cells was aided by the new technology — the microscope.
The invention of the compound microscope by the Dutch eyeglass maker Zacharias Janssen in the late 1500s was an early step toward cell discovery.
A compound microscope contains two or more lenses. Total magnification, the product of the magnifying power of each individual lens, is generally much more powerful with a compound microscope than with a single lens.
Discovery of Cell
In 1665, Robert Hooke observed that cork is made of tiny, hollow compartments. The compartments reminded Hooke of small rooms found in a monastery, so he gave them the same name: cells.
Around the same time, Anton van Leeuwenhoek was studying new methods for making lenses to examine cloth. As a result of his research, his microscope was much more powerful than Hooke’s microscope.
Anton van Leeuwenhoek
In 1674, Leeuwenhoek became one of the first people to describe living cells when he observed numerous single-celled organisms swimming in a drop of pond water.