One-of-a-Kind Compound Microscope (No. 20)

Age: c1800
Made by: unknown
Made in: possibly Germany
Decoration on the paper covering of the cardboard drawtube.
Iron "eyepiece cap" with its amber or wax ring at the base.

This is probably a one-of-a-kind compound microscope, made not by an optical firm, but by an individual for their own personal use. The instrument appears to be a hybrid consisting of a Nuremberg-type microscope body and wood and brass support stand. The base is weighted by a lead insert in the bottom; which is consistent with the hybrid nature of this instrument. The microscope body consists of three cardboard sections. The bottom section is covered in shagreen and is fixed to a brass collar by three screws. The two sections of the microscope body, also of cardboard, are covered in decorated paper and capped with turned softwood endpieces. The optics are typical, with the eyepiece and field lenses mounted in the top drawtube and a separate objective lens mounted in a wooden base. Interestingly, it has a heavy iron cap with a gasket of wax or amber (now cracked). It appears to have retained the eyepiece lens (missing).

The stage is a circular brass mount with a concave glass insert. It slides along the square support pillar and is retained in place by a jam screw (missing). Focus is accomplished by sliding the microscope drawtube inside the fixed body tube and/or the sample stage. The entire instrument is approximately 25cm tall.

This microscope is not signed or dated, but from the construction of the microscope and body tube it can be estimated as originating at the time of the Nuremberg Microscopes of Germany c1800.

Featured 04/2008

Fri, Dec 28, 2012