Italian Box Microscope, No. 130

Age: c1740
Made by: unknown
Made in: possibly Italy
Aquatic configuration

This is a Box Microscope from the early 18th Century. The base of the microscope is a cubic box made of mahogany with a lignum vitae insert for the brass sample holder. The front of the box can be removed by sliding up to reveal the internal single-sided mirror. The top of the box is set into a groove and can be removed by sliding forward. The main support pillar is mounted to this top piece. Focus is rack and pinion, with the toothed rack sliding along the back face of the triangular support pillar. The pinion is mounted on two extended arms. There is only one focus knob. The microscope body is fastened to the support pillar on a joint that allows the instrument to be rotated into an aquatic position.

The compound microscope body is a cardboard tube covered with white sharkskin. The eyepiece lens and objective are mounted in white ivory. Interestingly, the eyepiece lens appears to have been trimmed by hand, after grinding, to fit within the ivory mount. There is a field lens mounted in the center of the body tube, placed equally between the eyepiece and objective lenses. This instrument was repaired prior to entry into the Golub Collection. The ivory end pieces have been glued to the cardboard body tube making the field lens inaccessible. The white sharkskin covering suggests Italian, although the original Nachet description labeled this instrument as being French in origin. The base is painted black inside and matte finished outside. The box sides are matched by dovetail joints, and is 12x12x13cm (h). The total height of the instrument is 36cm. There are no accessories. Imaging through this instrument shows poor contrast due to the lack of a condenser optic or iris, and a total magnification of approximately 40x.

This instrument was #44 of the former Nachet Collection.

Contact: Steven Ruzin, Emeritus
Curator of The Golub Collection
located in
Valley Life Sciences Building, Onderdonk Lobby
The University of California at Berkeley, USA
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