The term "axon" was coined by Koelliker in 1896. To celebrate the occasion of this centennial, the contributions made in the 19th century by Remak and Deiters to the discovery of the structural uniqueness of the axon, and its continuity with the nerve cell body are highlighted briefly, and an overview is provided of the pioneering studies performed in the 18th century. Leeuwenhoek, Dutch pioneer of microscopic investigations, first observed nerve fibers in 1717 and described them as "very minute vessels." Fontana, rigorous and ingenious investigator primarily interested in the biological effects of the viper venom, is credited with the first report of nerve fibers, of which he provided in 1781 a remarkable description as "transparent, uniform and simple cylinders," "primitive organic elements" that can form a nerve.
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