All Brass Compound Microscope (No. 124)

Made:  c1675
Made by: unknown
Made in: Probably N. Italy
Detail of the internal Field Tube
Imaging

This is an all-brass instrument with three lens systems, resembling microscopes of Eustachio Divini (or deDivinis; 1620–1695), a celebrated instrument maker in Rome. The heavy engraving, focusing mechanism, and the shape of the tripod legs all point to its origin as Italy in the latter part of the 17th century. The microscope is unsigned.

This microscope has four lenses, two of which are located in a separate, internal tube, and simulate the optics of the single field lens of later microscopes. This field tube is highly ornamented, yet fully enclosed within the body of the microscope. Its two lenses are plano-convex, and are positioned with their curved surfaces facing each other. Divini's microscopes also used this unique arrangement of single-surface lenses, but he placed them in the eyelens. The other lenses of this microscope are the single eyepiece and a single objective lens, which are possibly replacements of the original glass. Focusing is accomplished by turning the body within the threads of the base ring.

The base is a simple round disc of brass mounted on three brass feet. In the center of the base, covering a 1cm hole, is a circular plate of horn on which a specimen would be placed. The two body tubes (the top slides over the threaded bottom tube) are heavily engraved with floral patterns and sweeping ribbon-like forms. The instrument is 28cm high and 4cm in diameter. According to Nachet catalog, this instrument probably was repaired at the beginning of the 18th century.

Imaging exhibits vignetting and poor resolution. The magnification of this microscope is approximately 40x; but additional magnification can be achieved by sliding the top tube up, extending the length of the microscope body. 11"

This microscope was instrument #24 of the Nachet Collection. The Billings Collection has a reproduction of a Divini microscope (AFIP 49005-63-6536-8 made by John Mayall, Jr, 1888) that is similar to this instrument in the Golub Collection.

Featured 08/2006

Fri, Dec 28, 2012