Compound Box Microscope (No. 132 )

Age: 1775–1795
Made by: : unknown
Made in: possibly English or German*
Rotating nosepiece with four objectives

This instrument is a brass compound microscope mounted on a wood box. The microscope body screws into a circular mounting plate fixed to the focusing mechanism and main support. The support pillar is square in cross section, and is attached to the box via an ornate brass plate with a curved support. Focus is by Hevelius screw mechanism. The microscope has the typical three-lens optics. The eyepiece and field lenses are mounted together, however, in an extendable brass tube, which itself fits inside the brass body tube. There are four objectives ranging from 15mm to 3mm focal length. They are mounted on a circular rotating nosepiece below the top mounting plate. This is an interesting arrangement for this era, and it allowed for rapid magnification changes. This instrument has a Bonanni spring stage and accessory post. Imaging is quite good.

The box is constructed of soft wood and is stained in a matte finish, possibly well after its original construction. The only ornamentation is a copper bead around the periphery of the top piece. It has a single drawer (empty), that is now glued in place. The mirror is missing. The only accessory is an eyepiece dustcap. The box is 21x14x8cm. The entire instrument, including box, is 38cm tall. This instrument has been repaired in the recent past. The body tube has been soldered and the box refinished and glued.

This instrument was #61 of the Nachet Collection. There is an identical instrument (cat# 7290) in the "Dutch and Continental Microscopes" of the Museum Boerhaave.

*The Boerhaave describes their instrument as "Continental" based on a similarity to an instrument in the Whipple Museum (Oxford England). The Whipple instrument is signed "Inventé et fait par C.V. Schleenstein a Cologne". According to the Websters' Instrument Makers Database of the Adler Planetarium, C.V. Schleenstein was a Mathematical and Surveying instrument maker of 18th Century Germany.

Microscope featured 07/2007

Fri, Dec 28, 2012