The History of the Cell Theory

Events

Invention of the Microscope

1590

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

Robert Hooke's Microscope

1660

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

1663

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

1663

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

1838

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

Theodor Schwann Looks at Animals

1839

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

1855

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.