Withering Botanical Microscope (No. 244 )

Age: 1775–1800
Made by: unknown
Made in: probably England
The microscope can be transported in this red leather container.

This instrument is a brass simple microscope similar to the "Botanical Microscope" described in 1776 by William Withering (1741-1799). It is a later form of Withering's design, as it exhibits several differences from the original. This instrument has three interchangeable lenses, all-brass tools, and a reduced top lens carrier. The original design had a single lens, tools with ivory handles, and a third circular tier for the lens mount. The instrument shown here is one of two Withering botanical microscopes in the Golub Collection. The other is microscope No. 44.

This microscope is a compact instrument designed for field work. It is 9.5cm tall with three circular tiers 5.5cm across supported by two slender support pillars. It has three interchangeable objective lenses, which may be screwed together to increase the total magnification. The sample stage (missing) fits in a recessed mount in the center tier. It was probably made of glass or bone. Sample focus is accomplished by sliding the stage tier up or down along the two support pillars. The position is maintained by friction collars. The single-sided illuminating mirror is mounted on a gimbal in the center of a transverse bar at the base of the microscope. Accessories consist of a forceps, dissecting pointer, and scalpel. In addition this instrument has a combination pointer and forceps mounted to the stage. For transportation the accessories can be secured in a cutout (forceps) or screwed to the base (scalpel and pointer). The entire unit can then be stored in the included cylindrical leather-covered case.

Imaging is good with a magnification range from approximately 5-20x.

Microscope featured 06/08

Tue, Sep 30, 2008