Microscope of the Month
Cary/Gould Compound Microscope, No. 80
Age: c1830
Made by: W. Cary
Made in: London, England
Cary, London
Imaging

This is a Gould-type compound monocular microscope designed by Charles Gould and made by the William Cary firm of London c1826. The microscope is made of a typical brass construction with interchangeable objective lenses and a two-lens eyepiece. There is no field lens within the microscope body. The microscope itself is mounted to a cantilevered arm, which in this instrument is screwed to the top of the main support pillar. Teeth are machined at the back of the pillar for the rack and pinion focusing mechanism. The stage is attached to the rack, to allow specimen movement during focusing. Further down the pillar is a hole the accepts the mounting pin for the gimbaled mirror. The stage is outfitted with a plano-convex condenser lens underneath the sample surface. At the outer end of the stage is a mounting hole and frame for a Bullseye lens (now missing) or a sample holder. The holder is a combination forceps, pointer, and black/white disc. The entire assembly is screwed into a circular mount that is bolted into the top of the mahogany storage box. Accessories include a single bone specimen slide, a cork disc, and one additional lens (possibly the missing field lens, but the threads do not match). Imaging is poor because of low contrast. There are no additional objectives with this instrument. There is an engraving on the pillar: "Cary, London". The microscope is 21.5cm.

William Cary (1759-1825) was a prominent maker of "Mathematical Instruments" (including microscopes) located on the Strand, in London. Cary was an apprentice of Jesse Ramsden until 1785, after which he established his own firm. Charles Gould was an employee of Cary, possibly an apprentice, and stayed with the firm throughout his career. It was during his early days in the Cary firm that Gould invented this famous microscope. After Cary's death in 1825 the firm, owned by Cary's sons John Jr and George, was managed by Charles Gould. (For more information regarding the Cary-Gould optical business and the complex Gould/Porter/Cary lineage see this link.)

An instrument of this type was called a "pocket microscope" because of its size and portability. Microscopes of this general design continued to be made well into the 19th Century due to their popularity among the many people with interests in natural history. This type of instrument often varied in design, some larger, some with the pillar mounted on the front edge of the box like the original Gould invention, some mounted on the top of the box, some signed, and some unsigned. This instrument shows an interesting design. The microscope support arm is screwed into the top of the pillar, which is a later design feature. However, the stage is round with one flat side, which is the initial design of the Cary/Gould microscope, as is the stage-mounted condenser lens and the double objectives. Finally, the case is quite large for a "Cary" microscope (12.5x11.8x3.5cm), which is also an earlier design feature. Thus this instrument has been dated c1830 for possessing some of these original Cary/Gould features. This microscope in the Golub Collection is the classic design of Charles Gould (c1786–1849) as advertised in his 1827 booklet entitled The Companion to the Microscope and a Description of C. Gould's Improved Pocket Compound Microscope... An engraving of a microscope similar to this one is included in the frontispiece (See this link for more information about Gould microscopes.)

Contact: Steven Ruzin, Ph.D. Director of the CNR Biological Imaging Facility
and
Curator of The Golub Collection
located in
Valley Life Sciences Building, Onderdonk Lobby
The University of California at Berkeley, USA
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