1590 - Dutch spectacle-makers Hans Janssen and his son Zacharias Janssen, claimed by later writers (Pierre Borel 1620 - 1671 or 1628 - 1689 and Willem Boreel 1591 - 1668) to have invented a compound microscope.
1609 - Galileo Galilei develops a compound microscope with a convex and a concave lens.
1612 - Galileo presents occhiolino to Polish king Sigismund III.
1619 - Cornelius Drebbel (1572 - 1633) presents, in London, a compound microscope with two convex lenses.
c.1622 - Drebbel presents his invention in Rome.
1624 - Galileo presents his occhiolino to Prince Federico Cesi, founder of the Accademia dei Lincei (in English, The Linceans).
1625 - Giovanni Faber of Bamberg (1574 - 1629) of the Linceans coins the word microscope by analogy with telescope.
1665 - Robert Hooke publishes Micrographia, a collection of biological micrographs. He coins the word cell for the structures he discovers in cork bark.
1863 - Henry Clifton Sorby develops a metallurgical microscope to observe structure of meteorites.
1860s - Ernst Abbe discovers the Abbe sine condition, a breakthrough in microscope design, which until then was largely based on trial and error. The company of Carl Zeiss exploited this discovery and becomes the dominant microscope manufacturer of its era.