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Exhibiting the Microscopical Writing Machine

The Peters' microscopical writing machine was exhibited by the Microscopical Society of London (Royal Microscopical Society) at the 1862 International Exhibition in London. Peters was awarded a medal. (See Warren and Anderson (2007), p. 492.)

The Society also exhibited the machine at the Special Loan Collection Exhibition in South Kensington in 1876. The entry in the published catalogue reads:

2054a. Peters's Machine for Microscopic Writing, combining Ibbetson's Geometric Chuck
Royal Microscopical Society, London

With this machine any combination of bicycloid curves can be produced on a scale wonderfully minute. Many beautiful and complex designs of this kind have been engraved on glass with remarkable precision, in the space of a circle the fiftieth of an inch in diameter.
A disc the one-hundredth of an inch in diameter appears to the unaided eye as a mere point, yet that point, not larger than the full-stop of ordinary print, will contain five circles each, the three-hundredth of an inch in diameter, and in a circle of that size (that is, about the size of a transverse section of a hair of the human head) the Lord's Prayer is written and can be read. It has also been legibly written in the three hundred and fifty-six thousandth part of an inch. In this specimen the writing is so small, that, in similar characters, the Bible and Testament together (said to contain 3,566,480 letters) could be written twenty-two times in the space of one English inch.
The name and address of Mr. "Matthew Marshall, Bank of England," has been written in the two-and-a-half millionth part of a square inch.

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