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Magnifying Lens - In the Outlander series Claire Fraser uses whatever tools are available to her for diagnosing ailments and making medicine. Magnification was one thing she could draw on in the 18th century, as simple magnifying lenses were well known, and more complex tools like compound lens microscopes were used by the scientists who could afford them. Artifacts with scientific applications are rare on  colonial sites in Maryland, but that may have more to do with people taking care of them over time than with their general presence or absence. After all, the colonies attracted people for many different reasons, and no doubt inquisitiveness, curiosity, and a sense of adventure — the kinds of  qualities that motivated many 18th-century scientists — were among them. Photo image of a magnifying lens:Magnifying Lens, Date: ca. 1700-1790, Site Name: Saunders Point, Site Number: 18AN39/165 - This small magnifying lens was recovered at the Saunders Point site, which represents the home of the Saunders family who lived on the South River not far from Annapolis, Maryland. The lens is convex in cross section, but quite thin, so any magnification it once offered would have been rather weak unless it was used in conjunction with other lenses in a microscope or telescope.  Historical records indicate that the Saunders family included at least two ship’s captains, so a telescope seems like a good possibility, but without the mounting for the lens, other magnifying tools cannot be completely ruled out. It is no longer possible to see through the lens because of decay it suffered underground. Glass breaks down in layers, and as the layers separate, the light that hits the surface no longer passes through the glass, but instead bounces off the surface, creating the iridescent patina that is clearly visible in the photo. Illustration of Examples of 18th-century magnifying tools -  shown are: mariner's telescope; compound microscope; lathe-turned bone spyclass with end caps;  magnifying glass with case.