Instruments of this type are called "Compass" microscopes because of the center hinge, reminiscent of a drafting compass. These instruments proved to be very popular by the middle of the 18th century into the early 19th Century because they were inexpensive and simple to use. This simple microscope was intended to be hand-held while viewing small specimens. They were considered easy to use although accurately focussing on objects was difficult.
It has a brass body and solid ivory handle. The Lieberkuhn reflector surrounding the eyepiece/objective allows reflected light to evenly illuminate opaque specimens. The microscope has a hinged specimen holder held in a fixed sleeve. It consists of a stage forceps on one end and a pin at the other end. The holder may be rotated to use either end. Focusing is accomplished by sliding the shaft of the specimen holder in the sleeve to attain the proper position in front of the lens, which is mounted in the center of the Lieberkuhn reflector.