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Antique Brass Entomoligical Microscope w/case


Offered for sale is an antique naturalists pocket Botanical & Entomological Microscope, ca. 1840s in a case.

This form of the microscope goes by a variety of names such as compass microscope, naturalist’s microscope, simple microscope, entomological microscope, flower microscope, pocket botanical microscope, and botanical microscope. It was introduced in the last years of the 18th century and was still being used 100 years later. It is brass with a "white" handle and simple lens. The components fold up. A needle probe is used to hold a specimen at one end and can be slid in a groove to focus in on it. The pocket botanic microscope was first mentioned in Adams book, "Essays on the Microscope" of 1798.

Measurements: It measures 2 1/2" folded & 3 1/4'' from top of the glass to tip of handle.

This piece will be a wonderful addition to any antique collection!

Dated in the literature (below) to the first half of the 19th century, this nice handheld entomological single microscope is considered to be of continental European make. It has a fairly large lens (magnification about 10x, field of view) set in a brass mount with nicely turned "ox bone" handle. It combines a high magnification lens with a live box, enabling the inspection in the field of small insects without the need to kill them (hence the term). The wider end of the microscope can be screwed out and an insect can be placed on the inner brass and glass cylinder. Then the outer brass and glass cover is screwed back leaving a narrow space between the two glasses for the insect to survive. The lens on the other end can be screwed in and out for focusing. The entire instrument is a nicely designed efficient field apparatus for the naturalist.

Similar instruments can be seen in the catalogs of the Science Museum London (Bracegirdle 2005, catalog on CD, inventory A56453); the Billings Microscope Collection catalog, P.201, Fig. 389; R. Giordano, 2012, The Discoverer's Lens, No. 98.

HISTORY OF FOLDING 'COMMON FLOWER OR INSECT' MICROSCOPES: This microscope has been referred to as a 'Botanical', 'Flower' (Adams and also much later, Queen), 'insect' microscope (Adams), or 'Entomological'(Giordano) microscope, depending on the author. The 1798 (2nd ed) of George Adams' 'Essays on the Microscope' illustrates this form for the first time and refers to it as the 'Common Flower or Insect Microscope.'1 By the time the second edition of Adams work was published, W. & S. Jones had taken over the business. Small folding or non-folding naturalist's microscopes were very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. They ranged from simple hand-held magnifiers to portable free-standing microscopes like those invented by Withering.

The Jones' sold instruments like these for many years. In fact, most nineteenth century instrument makers sold this type of microscope and it was still offered for sale as late as 1890 or even later. The picture shown to the right is from the 1890 version of the James. W. Queen catalog. Queen, of Philadelphia, was a prominent instrument seller even into the early 20th century. These instruments are often dated to the early 19th or late 18th century, but the truth is that they cannot be dated accurately except perhaps by the style of their case, or very rarely, a signature. Dating without an original case should generally simply be to the '19th century.' Likewise the inventor is open to question, as although first illustrated by Adams in 1787, neither Adams nor Jones seemed to take credit as inventors of the device.

Shipping: FREE to the United States. We also will ship worldwide.

Please look at the picture and read the description, which form a part of the condition description. What you see and what you read is what you are buying

International purchasers should contact sellers at: CAPTAINMADISON@ATT.NET for a shipping and insurance quote to your address and country. International purchasers should appreciate that the Customs Dept. of your country may assess duties, taxes and/or other charges on your purchase as it enters your country, which expenses are not part of the purchase price for this item and remains the sole expense of the purchaser.

This product would make a wonderful addition to any scientific instrument or microscope collection when displayed in a prominent place, being a grand collectible item that would adorn any serious collector's prized scientific instrument and microscope accumulations, while showing a discriminating dedication for fine microscopes and other scientific instrument items as well as a devotion to acquiring fine collectibles.

Sellers exclusively use the USPS as its' shipper (insurance available).

Please email sellers to: CAPTAINMADISON@ATT.NET for purchasing, payment, shipping arrangements, requests for more photos, as well as any other inquiries.

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  • Model: Antique Entomological Microscope

This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 16 September, 2014.

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