The general design of this microscope patterns the Ross design of mid 19th Century England. The design is characterized by a tripod base and strong upright pieces (trunnion; often buttressed). The uprights support a horizontal axis, which itself supports the microscope body and stage. Rotation along this axis can position the microscope from fully upright to fully horizontal. (In the original Ross microscope the rotation axis is at nearly the center of gravity of the microscope.)
Objectives can be switched by rotating the objective holder. Addition of the Nicol prism analyzer prohibits moving the objective, since it extends into the microscope body tube.