American Ingenuity, in a Presentation Outfit Click on any image for a larger view.

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IMPORTANT GRIFFITH CLUB PRESENTATION OUTFIT, American, c.1881, signed on the rotator/base with a fine presentation "With Regards of the Inventor, to Hon. Lewis Lawrence, Utica, N.Y".; on the main tube "Griffith Club Microscope;" and on the objective "E. Gundlach." The outfit stows compactly in its 7-3/4" x 6" x 3-1/2" (20 x 15 x 9 cm) velvet lined wood case. Extending to a maximum height of 15-1/2" (39 cm) when assembled, the microscope is made of golden lacquered brass with nickel plated fittings. A lever-operated cam acts against a spring to engage the unusual worm and ring gear fine focus action. This unusual instrument is equipped with one ocular, one Gundlach objective, black glass stage with synchronized slide clips, and swinging substage with double mirror, but no condenser provision, allowing extremely oblique lighting both above and below stage. The mirror cell is gutta percha, as employed in early Gundlach designs. The microscope stands on three ball feet to a tapered pillar, with hinged joint 5-1/2" off the table top. This pillar breaks down to permit direct mounting of the microscope to a table, and inverted use of the base as a slide preparation turntable, complete with its adjustable triangular slide grips (see illustration in Padgitt, p. 117). Condition is excellent, with the exquisite original golden lacquer finish.

The evolution of the Griffith Club stand is discussed by R.D. Watson in Rittenhouse 9, 25. The present stand would be his second form; Item 11 in Tesseract Catalogue 47 would be the third form. This "queen of grace and utility amongst microscopes" (as described in his award received at the Columbian Exhibition) was invented by Ezra Griffith of Fairport, N.Y. He made continual modifications and improvements in this innovative design, from its introduction in 1880 until his death in 1894, so there can be detailed variations throughout his production. The manufacture itself was apparently by Bausch & Lomb, then by Ernst Gundlach.

Griffith was a passionate amateur microscopist, and engaged many members of microscopy clubs in the U.S. and abroad (and thus the "Club" microscope). The recipient of the present splendid example, the only such inventor's presentation recorded, was Lewis Lawrence (1806 -1886), prominent businessman of Utica, with interests in lumber, building construction, roads and railroads. Lawrence seems to have been a truly good man, generous and respectful, a dedicated abolitionist, wealthy but unostentatious. His behavior gained him the informal title "Honorable." Having built up his businesses from scratch, he was a master organizer of the funding and execution of large projects. In just one example of logging he bought a large tract in Oswego Country, hired 600 "clean-living" new immigrants in New York City, organized them efficiently, and sent out 280 cords of wood (2-1/2 acres worth) by rail daily. Included with this splendid microscope is the interesting book Lewis Lawrence by T.J. Brown (1887), with its fine steel engraving of Honorable Lawrence.

An important example of this uniquely American microscope. (9096) $12,500.

 

 

Right-Side-Up Viewing by Nachet Click on any image for a larger view.

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PRISMATIC INVERTING OCULAR, French, c. 1900, engraved "Nachet" in script in the chemically darkened brass body. Measuring 1-3/4" (4.5 cm) overall, and with an eyetube outside diameter of 23.3 mm, the ocular has internal lenses and prism to give an upright image of the object when used with an ordinary compound microscope, especially facilitating dissection. Condition is fine noting some spotting to the prism. Nachet advertised this inverting ocular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and further recommended its inclined exit beam for ease of use with vertical instruments. Complete with the original velvet lined case. (8080) $280.

 

Double-Specimen Sliders, 5" long Click on any image for a larger view.

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SET OF TWENTY LARGE WOOD SLIDERS WITH PREPARED SPECIMENS, French, c. early 19th century. Each slider is made of sturdy tan wood 4-7/8" (12 cm ) long, with beveled ends (for insertion in a microscope stage carrier), and with two prepared specimens mounted between glass disks and held in place by brass spring rings. Each specimen is identified in French, directly on the slider in ink writing. Condition is fine throughout except most showing drying and crazing of the mounting cement. The specimens however, which are of various natural history subjects, are still quite visible, and fascinating viewed through a microscope. The set is contained in an associated mahogany box.

These sliders are transitional between the ivory mounts with multiple specimens set between mica disks, which were made throughout the 18th century, and the all glass slides with usually single specimens set under cover glass which became standard by the 1840šs. (9155) $1450.

 

Rare Miniature Outfit Click on any image for a larger view.

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THE SWIFT / BROWN MINIATURE POCKET MICROSCOPE WITH STAND, English, c. 1880, signed "J. Swift, 43 University St., London W.C." This exquisite little compound microscope outfit is contained in the original 4-3/8" and 4-1/8" (11 and 10 cm) long matching wood cases bound in red Morocco leather and lined in purple silk. The instrument is made of clear lacquered brass and assembles with three horizontal rods as legs, and vertical pillar with hinged head and dovetail fitting supporting the microscope proper. Twin drawtubes provide coarse focus and fine focus, a particularly convenient system. The optical system uses a choice of two two-element oculars, plus objective. The stage has a spring-loaded clamp plate activated by twin projecting pins. A rear tube accommodates a sliding rod with adjustable yoke-mounted concave substage mirror. There is a paper-bound prepared slide but no other accessories. Condition is very fine throughout.

This charming little instrument was described in the 1883 Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society: "Messrs. Swift and Son have added a stand to their (Brown's) Pocket Microscope, which is one of the smallest Microscopes made having any pretensions to be a serviceable instrument and not a mere toy." Describing one in the R.M.S. collection, Turner (in Great Age of the Microscope) attributes its design to G.T. Brown, that example having been made for Sir Frank Crisp. It is quite a rare miniature pocket microscope, this the first we have had. (9123) $4250.

 

Victorian Gold(!) Click on any image for a larger view.

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PURE GOLD NUGGETS ON A MICROSCOPE SLIDE, English, c. 1860. This Victorian microscope slide is beautifully bound in green and red papers, with the printed label of Smith, Beck & Beck, 31 Cornhill, London. It measures 1" x 3" (25 x 76 mm) overall, and displays a cluster of small nuggets of gold, as found in nature. The preparers (the famous microscope manufacturers, James Smith, Richard Beck and brother Joseph Beck) were in triple partnership only from 1857 (when Richard joined) until 1865 (when Smith retired), giving a rather precise dating to this very rare preparation for the microscope. (9103) $325.

 

Classic French Student Microscope, c. 1900 Click on any image for a larger view.

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STUDENT DRUM MICROSCOPE, French, c. 1900, the bright lacquered brass vertical stand measuring 6" (15 cm) tall (closed). It is equipped with one ocular, single button objective, drawtube focusing, fixed circular stage, swiveling plane mirror below, and lead weighted base. Condition is excellent and fully functional. A fine example of the classic French student stand. (9105) $95.

 

Pre-Television Entertainment Click on any image for a larger view.

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    MICROSCOPIC ART -- A MASTERFUL ARRANGEMENT OF 300 INSECT SCALES, DIATOMS, ETC., English, c. first quarter 20th century, signed "Clarke & Page, Preparers, London." This standard 1" x 3" glass slide presents, within a 3/16" diameter field, and mounted under glass, a scene of a complex floral display with a hovering butterfly. The arrangement is composed of single diatoms, single platelets from butterfly wings, etc., all individually laid down by hand. Labeled "Entomology; Design in Insect Scales, Diatoms, &c.; Opaque; Containing about 300 pieces in the Design," the slide is in near mint condition in its original carrying case. These London makers were in partnership from c. 1907 until c. 1925 (see Bracegirdle). Quite expensive at the time, this slide is a prime example of entertainment designed for the "salon circle" of the Victorian drawing room. (8109) $950.
 
   
 

 

Pillar/Drum Stand with Ypelaar-Type Preparations Click on any image for a larger view.

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UNUSUAL DRUM MICROSCOPE WITH SPECIMEN STORAGE AND REAR PILLAR RACKWORK, probably French, c.1800. Extending from 7-1/4" to 8-1/2" (18 to 22 cm) tall, this vertical all-brass microscope has a fine two-element ocular, a singlet high-power objective, rear vertical square pillar with rack and pinion drive, stage guides, and substage drum cutaway to the swiveling plane mirror. The base houses a lidded compartment with a further two sequentially numbered objective lenses, and four identified circular ivory "Ypelaar-type" cells containing prepared specimens, set between small curved glass (not mica) disks and held in place by brass spring rings. These insect preparations include top and side views of cat fleas, a spider, and a bedbug's egg. Condition is very fine except lacking a glass stage insert, and the original clear lacquer finish now quite spotted. This unusual form is very distinctive with its acorn finial atop the rear pillar, and the ogee profile to the ocular cell. There is a sensibly identical microscope, with similar preparations, in the Yale University microscopy collection. (9115) $2250.

 

Candle Light Shade for Microscopy Click on any image for a larger view.

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VICTORIAN LIGHT SCREEN, English, c. 1850, signed on silk "C.W. Dixey, Optician to the Queen, 3 New Bond Street, London." A fine lacquered brass stand supports a 12" (30 cm) diameter circular green silk shade. All is collapsed for portability; the base swings open with four feet, the pillar opens on two drawtubes to 17' maximum including its upper swivel joint, and the fan-fold shade opens full-circle from its very compact rectangle. Condition is very fine except the silk is rather weak and splitting a bit, so should not really be forced fully open. The outfit is complete with its original fitted wood case lined in green velvet and white silk, and covered in red Morocco leather, the latter a bit worn. This is a superb "signed" example of Victorian light screen, used to shield one's eyes from the direct light from a candle, lamp, fireplace, etc. It had many uses, but importantly could shade the microscopist's eyes from a bright light source illuminating the specimen. The maker, Charles Wastell Dixey, worked c. 1838 - 1862, and held a Royal appointment as "Optician and Mathematical Instrument Maker" to Queen Victoria. (8079) $975.

 

The "Microscope Achromatique Simplifie" Click on any image for a larger view.

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FINE ACHROMATIC MICROSCOPE OUTFIT, French, c. 1840's, signed on the oculars "Lerebours a Paris." Contained in its original 11" x 4" x 4" (28 x 10 x 10 cm) beautifully grained fitted wood case, this is an example of the "Microscope Achromatique Simplifie" of N.-P. Lerebours, first published in 1838 and described in detail in his book. The lacquered brass microscope itself is similar in design to that known as the "Oberhauser drum;" it is based on vertical cylinders, the lower cylinder with a cutout for light to reach the rotatable double mirror, with a slot for the wheel of stops, and with a cutout for the specimen stage. The next cylinder carries the triple-jointed arm for the stage condenser, plus the rack and pinion focus to the final cylinder, the optical tube itself. The outfit is complete with two oculars, triple button achromatic objective, opaque ebony / ivory stage disk, a live box / compressor, and specimen forceps. The microscope and all the accessories are described in detail in Lerebours' book. This beautiful example of his top-of-the-line drum model is in very fine condition throughout. (9132) SOLD

 

 

An Uncommon Case-Mounted Microscope Click on any image for a larger view.

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FRENCH CASE-MOUNTED SIDE-PILLAR MICROSCOPE, c. 1860, signed only on the trade card "F. Barbier, Opticien, rue d'Orleans 1 (to Place Villeneuve 2A), Marseille." Made of golden lacquered brass the microscope assembles to a total (minimum) height of 10-3/4" (27 cm) above the beautiful flame-grained wood case. It is equipped with a two-element eyepiece, three interchangeable objectives, stage with fixed spring clips and racked motion from the cylindrical rear pillar, and plane mirror below. Condition is fine noting some wear to the finish. An uncommon example of this French form. (8087) $2400.
   
 
   
 

 

Portable Microtome Click on any image for a larger view.

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TABLE-MOUNT MICROTOME FOR PREPARATION OF THIN SECTIONS, probably English, 19th century. This fine lacquered brass instrument measures 3" x 2-1/2" x 2-3/4" (8 x 6 x 7 cm) and has a cylindrical specimen chamber with calibrated long screw to drive the specimen forward, and side clamp screw to lock it in place for slicing across the flat top. The fine screw makes 40 rotations for 1" of travel, and each rotation is subdivided into fourths. The table clamp permits rigidity plus portability. In very fine condition. (8099) $395.

 

 

Calipers for Microscopy Click on any image for a larger view.

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PRECISION CALIPERS, English, c. early 19th century, signed "Tylor & Pace, London, No. 21." Made of electrum and steel, with turned steel feet and turned wood handle, the calipers are 7-1/4" (18 cm) long overall. The rounded jaws open by convenient thumb lever, which drives the geared pointer against a semicircular scale of 0 - 250 units numbered every ten units, each unit being one one-thousandth of an inch. The instrument is in very fine condition, in a mahogany box including some cover slips and specimens for microscope slide preparation. This finely crafted device is possibly designed for measuring thicknesses of microscope slides and cover slips, and is by makers unrecorded in the standard literature (although Clifton lists a Charles Pace, mathematical instrument maker, of London, working c. 1786 - 1805). (8062) $1150.
   

 

Close-focusing Prismatic Viewer Click on any image for a larger view.

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MYSTERY OPTICAL DEVICE, possibly English, c. 1900. Measuring 2-3/4" (7 cm) overall, this unusual "instrument" is made of turned boxwood, blackened on the interior, and set with a 45-degree glass prism ground and polished convex on the inner end. Held to the eye, this viewer gives a very clear magnified reversed view at right angles, in focus at a distance of 3" from the prism. A mystery, in excellent condition. (8185) $195.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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