Botanical Microscope (No. 44)

Age: 1775–1800
Made by: unknown
Made in: probably England

This is a brass simple microscope, the design of which was popular during the second half of the 18th century. It is patterned after the design of William Withering (1741–1799) as described in: A Botanical Arrangement of all the vegetables naturally growing in Great Britain, 2 volumes (1776). A description of his life can be found here.

The instrument is a three-tier system. It has a two-element magnifying lens mounted on the top transverse bar. The middle tier is the sample stage mounted on two friction-fit collars. The circular base has three peg-like feet and holds two support pillars. Focusing is accomplished by moving the central, circular stage up or down along the two pillars. It has a large mirror mounted beneath the stage on pivots connected to the support pillars. Attached to the stage are a bull's-eye lens for illuminating opaque samples, and a pointer/forceps (now broken). The stage and base have several cutouts for storage of dissecting tools, all of which are now missing. The magnification is approximately 10x. Illumination can be either transmitted light for transparent specimens, or epi-illumination (for opaque specimens). Imaging is good but shows vignetting at the edges. The instrument is 9.5cm tall.

This microscope is similar to microscope No. 244 in the Golub Collection.

Microscope featured 8/04, 11/09

Fri, Dec 28, 2012