The History of the Cell Theory


Invention of the Microscope


Zacharias Janssen and his father, Hans, were eyeglass makers. In 1590, they created the first microscope.

Robert Hooke's Microscope


Robert Hooke made his own microscope. It's light was an oil lamp, and the lens focused the lamp's light onto the specimen.

Robert Hooke Discovers Cells


Hooke looked at a slice of cork under a microscope. He saw little boxes that reminded him of a monk's room at a monastery. Thus, he named them "cells."

Anton van Leeuwenhoek Discovers Animalcules


Anton looked at samples of water under microscopes. He found many single-celled organisms. They moved around, hopped and jumped, and shot through the water like fast fish. Anton named them "animalcules". Animalcules means little animals.

Matthias Schleiden Studies Plants


Matthias studied plants under a microscope and found out that plants also have cells.

Theodor Schwann Looks at Animals


Theodor Schwann studies animals and discovered that they were also made of cells. He looked at other peoples' research and concluded that all living things are made of cells.

Rudolph Virchow Discovers Where Cells Come From


Rudolph Virchow found out that new cells are formed from old cells. This was important because no one else had explained where cells came from.