Dutch Chest Microscope, No. 263

This is a chest-style compound microscope made c1770 probably in Holland. It consists of a brass microscope body and separate mirror both screwed to the bottom half of a hinged mahogany chest. The disassembled microscope and accessories fit within the green felt lined case, which can be closed and locked for transport and storage. The microscope itself is of the Cuff-style in that it consists of a separate microscope body supported by a side pillar. The body fits into a tapered, cantilevered arm that is part of the focus mechanism. Unlike the Cuff design, this microscope has a threaded collar at the top of the support pillar. A knurled knob turns the collar, which then rises or falls along the pillar. The microscope support arm is connected to this collar so the microscope body is carried up or down with it, thus focusing the sample. A second, thinner shaft is present to provide a mechanism for maintaining axial alignment between the microscope body and the sample stage.

The microscope has simple optics: a two-lens eyepiece and a two-lens high-magnifiation objective and a single lens low magnification objective. The illuminating mirror is mounted on a gimbal and is bolted to the floor of the case. All components of this microscope are made of brass. The sample stage is interesting in its simplicity. It consists of a flat brass strip and a folded strip of brass underneath that is riveted to the top. The folded strip acts like a spring to hold the sample slide in place under the stage surface.

There are few accessories with this instrument: a long brass forceps, brass dust cap, three bone sample slides of biological material, and a prepared slide of the mineral bornite. This last slide probably is not original. Imaging is relatively poor, as it suffers from poor resolution. The microscope is 23.5cm tall.

Age: c1770
Made by: Unknown
Made in: possibly Holland
Prepared slides
Featured 11/2013