The Royal Society discussed Leeuwenhoek's observations about pores in the skin in Letter L-135

November 10, 1683

The discussion occurred at the meeting following the reading of Leeuwenhoek's Letter L-135 of 17 September 1684. It focused on his claim that human skin was covered with scales, not pores.


Birch, History, vol. IV, p. 221, 31 October 1683 (O.S.) in London:

Mr. LEEWENHOECK's last observations having not yet been tried, Dr. AGLIONBY, Dr. TYSON, and Dr. SLARE were desired to undertake the trial, and report the success.

The president queried upon the assertion, that there are no pores, how that would agree with MALPIGHI's discovery of glandules in the skin, whereby the sweat is separated.

Dr. GREW produced a draught of the apparent situation of the pores in the middle of the hand; whereupon he observed the magnitude of the pores and their position.

As to the magnitude, he said, that the pores were biggest, where the hand was hardest and most callous.

In the position of the pores, he said, that they were ranged to answer three sorts of motion in the hand, one towards the right, another to the left, and the third motion in grasping.

He [Grew] confirmed the truth of Mr. LEEWENHOECK's observations in his schemes of several sorts of wood, which he had observed with a glass of his own, though Dr. GREW differed from him sometimes in his deductions or the philosophical part.