Man has just recently become aware of the existence of bacteria because they were too small to be observed or studied before the microscope was invented. The first scientist to have studied and described bacteria was Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723). He was a textile dealer who lived in Holland ad used magnifying glasses to assess the quality of fabrics. In 1668, during a business trip to England, he bought some very powerful magnifying glasses with which he built a rudimentary microscope. His curiosity led him to observe a bit of everything and this is how he happened to see microbes for the very first time.