Moody Medical Library

Academic Resources | Blocker History of Medicine Collections


Microscope Collection

British Firms

George Adams

George Adams, the Younger (1750-1795) continued the business established by his father, George Adams, the Elder (1704-1772). The senior Adams published a popular work, Micrographia Illustrata (1746), and introduced a number of improvements in microscope design. His son was also the author of several works.


George Adams Microscope 1

The Cuff-type instrument is attached to the box-foot by a square pillar, which supports the body-tube, stage and the mirror. Focusing is by rackwork that moves the stage. The drawer includes accessories (objective lenses, Lieberkuhn reflector, fish plate, stage forceps, and brass slider.) The whole instrument fits into a pyramid-shaped mahogany case upon removing the body-tube. The instrument is very similar to the "Improved Double and Single Microscope," featured in Adams' Essays on the Microscope (1787). About 1790. Signed: G. Adams No 60 Fleet Street London.


George Adams Microscope 1 with Case

Additional Photograph: Case with Instrument (1.010).


George Adams Microscope 1 Detail

Additional Photographs: Signature (1.010).


George Adams Microscope 2

This unsigned, brass instrument is very similar to the "Improved Compound Microscope" shown in Adams' Essays on the Microscope (1787). The folding tripod base supports the round, tapered pillar. The round limb, attached to the pillar by a compass joint, holds the platform fitted with a spring stage and the arm, supporting the body-tube. A swinging mirror slides along the square-section bar attached to the limb. The instrument fits into a wooden case, and no accessories are present, except an ivory slider. It is possible that this is a German copy of the Adams model, as the construction of the box, lined with olive green woolen cloth and mahogany inlaids, appears different from the boxes of English instruments. About 1790.


Charles Baker

The London firm of Charles Baker sold a variety of scientific instruments, including imported German instruments by Leitz, Reichert, and Zeiss. The Baker establishment at Hign Holborn remained in business from 1851 to 1909.


Charles Baker Microscope

Built to the popular Ross design, the microscope displays the typical Y-shaped foot, vertical pillars, boxy limb with a tubular tailpiece, the body-tube with a transverse arm that attaches to the limb. It comes with monocular as well as an interchangeable binocular body, with an adjustment mechanism by rackwork (with a single knob) in the front. It sits on a wooden platform. No case or accessories are included. About 1870. Signed: Baker. 244. High Holborn, London.


Charles Baker Microscope Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.078).


R&J Beck

Nephews of J.J. Lister, Richard Beck (1827-1866) and Joseph Beck (1828-1891) were in partnership with a leading instrument maker, James Smith (d. 1870). The name of the company, Smith, Beck & Beck was changed to R&J Beck in 1865. R&J Beck introduced a number of inexpensive models and helped popularize the use of the microscope.


R & J Beck Microscope

An example of the Beck "Economic" microscope, the instrument has a flat, tripod foot and a binocular tube. The tubular pillar is capped with a compass joint, and circular stage is attached to the tubular limb. Focusing is by rack and pinion, and a rotating mirror on a swinging arm is attached to the bottom of the stage. About 1880. Signed: R&J Beck London 13694.


Robert Bryson

Robert Bryson (1778-1852) and his sons Alexander (1816-1866) and James Mackay (1824-1866) had their business at different locations on Princess Street, Edinburgh (Scotland). The firm sold a variety of scientific instruments from 1810 to 1893.


Robert Bryson Microscope

This all brass monocular microscope has a bent claw foot, a feature found in James Swift & Son instruments. The stage, attached to the base by trunnions, supports the tubular limb with an arm. The coarse focusing is by the draw-tube, and the fine focusing by the screw on top of the limb. A swinging mirror is attached to the tubular tailpiece. The small instrument was likely intended for use by students. No carrying case and accessories. About1880. Signed: Bryson, Edinburgh.


John Cuff

At the suggestion of Henry Baker (1698-1774), the author of the popular "The Microscope Made Easy" (1742), John Cuff (1708-1772) designed a new type of microscope providing for an easier access to the stage and a steady mechanism for focusing. The Cuff-type instrument was produced well into the 19th century.


John Cuff Microscope

This unsigned, Cuff-type microscope is attributed to Tiedemann of Stuttgart. The instrument is attached to the box-foot by a beveled rectangular brass base. The curved pillar supports the limb, to which are attached the body-tube and the spring stage. Focusing is by the screw at the top of the limb. Accessories include objective lenses, ivory sliders, and stage forceps. Late 18th century. For other Cuff-type instruments in the collection, see George Adams and Henry Shuttleworth.


Edmund Culpeper

An English instrument maker, Edmund Culpeper (c.1670-1738) is credited with popularizing two important elements in microscope design: the substage mirror and the tripod microscope, which is referred to as Culpeper-type.


Culpeper Microscope

The unsigned Culpeper-type microscope has two sets of brass tripod that support the stage and the body-tube. The swinging mirror is attached to the wooden base. The instrument also has the rack-and-pinion system on the outer tube, a feature that was later added to Culpeper-type microscopes. No accessories. About 1800.


Charles W. Dixey

Charles Westell Dixey, Optician to the Queen, took over the firm that operated under the name "G & C Dixey" on New Bond Street from 1839 to 1862.


C. W. Dixey Microscope 1

This Gould-type microscope, designed by Charles Gould, was a popular field microscope that could easily be packed into its small wooden box. The body-tube has two parts (cylindrical and conical), and the stage moves along the pillar by a rack- and-pinion mechanism. Accessories include ivory slides, objective lenses, and stage forceps. Signed: C.W. Dixey, Optician to the Queen, New Bond Street London.


C. W. Dixey Microscope 2

Moody Medical Library collection also includes a very similar but an unsigned Gould-type microscope (1.080).


John Dollond

London optician John Dollond (1706-1761) is known as the inventor of the achromatic lens for telescopes. His sons Peter (1731-1820) and John (b. 1733) continued the business and sold a variety of scientific instruments. The firm remained in the hands of the Dollond family until the 1870s.


Dollond Microscope

This Ellis-Type Aquatic microscope has a tubular pillar attached to the box-foot. The pillar supports the stage, mirror, and an optical system consisting of a single lens. The instrument is also fitted with a screw-barrel microscope. The wooden box, covered with fish skin, contains accessories, including brass and ivory sliders, and Lieberkuhn reflector. This is the oldest instrument in the Collection. About 1765. Signed: Dollond London.


Dollond Microscope with Barrel

Additional Photograph: Screw-Barrel Microscope (1.004).


W & S Jones

London instrument makers, William (1763-1831) and Samuel (d. 1859) Jones produced a number of popular models, including the Jone's "Improved" and "Most Improved" compound microscopes. They worked at 135 Holborn from 1792 to 1800, and 30 Holborn from 1800 to 1860.


W & S Jones Microscope 1

This is a solar microscope, with a square base and attached rectangular mirror. It comes with accessories and a wooden case. About 1795. Signed: W&S, Jones Fecerunt. 135 Holborn, London.


W & S Jones Microscope Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.009).


W & S Jones Microscope 2

An example of the Jones's "Most Improved Compound Microscope," this instrument has a folding tripod base and a pillar that supports the limb by a compass joint. The limb carries the stage, condenser, mirror and body-tube. The stage moves by rackwork. Early part of the 19th century. Signed: W & S Jones. 30 Holborn, London.


W & S Jones Microscope 2 Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.038).


William Ladd

London optician and instrument maker, Ladd (died c. 1884) was known for his effective use of the chain drive mechanism in the construction of microscopes. He worked at 31 Chancery Lane from 1858-60.


Ladd Microscope

The tripod base, consisting of a tubular structure, supports the limb, which carries the body-tube, stage, condenser, and mirror. Focusing is by the fusee chain mechanism. It sits on a wooden platform and comes with accessories and a mahogany case. About 1860. Signed: W. Ladd, 31. Chancery Lane, London.


Ladd Microscope Case

Additional Photograph: Case with Instrument (1.015).


Ladd Microscope Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.015).


Joseph Long

Very little information about the life of Joseph Long is available. He operated his firm at 20 Little Tower Street in London from 1821 to 1846, and the first remained there under the same name until 1884. Long was a maker of scientific instruments.


Joseph Long Microscope

This instrument represents the finest example of its type prior to the development of achromatic microscopes. The main components are folded and packed, with complete accessories, in a mahogany box, lined with maroon velvet. The flat folding tripod base supports a round pillar, which is attached to the limb by a compass joint. The limb carries the body-tube and the stage are attached. The compound outer tube carries an inner tube, and the focusing is by rack and pinion. The instrument is very similar to a microscope made by Philip Carpenter and signed: "Carpenter's Improved, Opake, & Transparent Compound Microscope, 24, Regent Street London," now at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. The Moody Medical Library's instrument is believed to be rare, as the catalogs of The Billings Microscope Collection and the Royal Microscopical Society Collection do not list Joseph Long. About 1830. Signed: Improved Compound Microscope for Opake & Transparent Objects. By J. Long, 20, Little Tower St. London.


Joseph Long Microscope Case

Additional Photograph: Case with Instrument (1.082).


Joseph Long Microscope Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.082).


Nairne & Blunt

London instrument makers Edward Nairne (1726-1806) and Thomas Blunt (d. 1823) formed a partnership and conducted business at 22 Cornhill from 1774 to 1793. One of the innovations introduced by Edward Nairne was the "Chest Microscope," which provided the instrument with more portability.


Nairne & Blunt Microscope

This "chest" microscope, a variation on the Cuff model, has a square section pillar hinged to the base of the box. The body-tube fits into a ring at the top of the pillar and can be lifted for packing. The stage focusing is by means of a long screw on the side. A rotating mirror is attached to the pillar by means of a swinging arm. The whole instrument, with accessories (objective lenses, sliders, fish plate) fits into the mahogany case. About 1780. Signed: Nairne Blunt London.


Nairne & Blunt Microscope Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.040).


Negretti & Zambra

Henry Negretti (d. 1879) and Joseph Warren Zambra (d. 1877) were in partnership and sold a variety of scientific instruments. The company conducted business at different locations in London, beginning in 1850 and continuing to the end of the century.


Negretti & Zambra Microscope

This large compound binocular microscope is a variation on the popular Ross model (see our instrument 1.025, Ross 563). The Y-shaped foot supports the vertical double pillars, attached to the boxy limb by means of trunnions. The binocular tube has the adjustment mechanism by rackwork (with dual knobs) in the back. It comes with a mahogany carrying case with glass door, a wooden platform for the instrument, and accessories. About 1870. Signed: Negretti & Zambra London.


Negretti & Zambra Microscope Case

Additional Photograph: Case with Instrument (1.040).


Negretti & Zambra Microscope Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.040).


Moritz Pillischer

A London instrument maker, Pillischer worked at 398 Oxford Street from 1851 to 1853, and at New Bond Street from 1854 to 1887.


Moritz Pillischer Microscope

This early instrument by Pillischer sits on a flat solid base (Y-shaped, with a short stem), supporting flat pillars which curve forward. The arched limb is attached to a platform that holds the stage, and is fitted with a rack-and-pinion mechanism for coarse focusing. The oval platform supports two layers of swinging stage, on which a stage forceps is mounted. Beneath this platform, the arched limb takes the form of a tubular limb, holding the mirror. It comes with a mahogany carrying case, a wooden platform for the instrument, and eyepieces. About 1852. Signed: M. Pillischer 398 Oxford St London 114.


Moritz Pillischer Microscope Case

Additional Photograph: Case with Instrument (1.017).


Moritz Pillischer Microscope Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.017).


Powell & Lealand

London optician Hugh Powell (1799-1883) was already producing microscopes when he formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, Peter H. Lealand. The firm remained a major manufacturer of microscopes throughout the nineteenth century.


Powell & Lealand Microscope 1

This instrument is one of the earlier achromatic microscopes produced by Powell & Lealand shortly after they formed their partnership in 1841. The instrument is supported by a double pillar and a flat tripod. The body-tube rests on the grooved limb, the coarse adjustment being by a rack-and-pinion system. The body and the limb can be rotated 90 degrees away from the stage. Edward Nelson believed that the most important part of this microscope was the introduction of trunnions that replaced the compass joint of earlier microscopes. Trunnions became common feature in microscopes produced in the second half of the 19th century. We believe this to be a rare instrument. About 1842. Signed: Powell & Lealand Makers. London.


Powell & Lealand Microscope 2

The instrument, referred to as "Student's Compound Microscope" in Powell & Lealand catalogs, has a cast-iron foot and limb, painted black. It is also called the "iron" microscope. The limb supports the stage and the body-tube. The rack-and-pinion drive is located internally and operated by a brass knob. About 1848. Signed: Powell & Lealand, London.


Powell & Lealand Microscope 3

Based on a new model introduced in 1843, this all brass instrument rests on a tripod, with the limb moving on the trunnions and supporting the body-tube and stage. The model served as the basis of the company's instrument design through the rest of the century. It comes with a mahogany carrying case and accessories. Dated 1847. Signed: Powell & Lealand, 4. Seymour Place, Euston Square, London. 1847.


Powell & Lealand Microscope 3 Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.037).


Andrew Pritchard

A London optician and author, Pritchard is known for his jewel microscopes constructed of diamond and sapphire. He collaborated with C.R. Goring and published a number of works in the 1830s that helped popularize the microscope. He worked at 162 Fleet Street from 1838 to 1854.


Andrew Pritchard Microscope

One of the first achromatic instruments, the microscope has a heavy flat folding tripod base. The limb is attached to the pillar by a ball-and-socket joint of Ross design, and carries the body-tube, stage, condenser, and mirror. It comes with a mahogany carrying case and accessories which include a Goring engiscope. Dr. John Bunyan believed that this instrument was made by Andrew Ross and Hugh Powell, who had earlier worked for Pritchard. About 1840. Signed: Andrew Pritchard, 162 Fleet Street, London.


Andrew Ross

One of the best known microscope makers in London, Andrew Ross began business in 1830 and collaborated with J.J. Lister (1786-1869), inventor of a new design for achromatic lenses for the microscope. Both Ross and Lister were the founding members of the Microscopical Society of London (later the Royal Microscopial Society).


Ross Microscope 1

This compound monocular microscope is the earliest Ross instrument in the collection, and may be one of the four known to have survived. The limb, which supports the body-tube and stage, is attached to the pillar by a ball-and-socket joint. The stage carries a tubular column on its under surface, and the pillar sits on a flat tripod base. About 1835. Signed: Ross, London.


Ross Microscope 1 Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.024).


Ross Microscope 2

The popular model features the Y-shaped, flat tripod base which became a characteristic of many Ross microscopes. The vertical flat pillars hold the limb by means of trunnions, and a bar attached to the top of the limb supports the optical tube, with a lever for fine focusing. The stage and the mirror are attached to the limb. This instrument is similar to the one described in the Frontispiece of John Quekett's Practical Treatise on the Use of the Microscope (1848). It comes with a wooden carrying case. About 1853. Signed: A. Ross, London 563.


Ross Microscope 2 Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.025).


Ross Microscope 3

Very similar to Ross microscope described above, except that it is larger and has a more elaborate stage and condenser fittings. It comes with a carrying case, eye pieces, and one objective lens, with engraving "A. Ross, 1852." About 1853. Signed: A. Ross London 529.


Ross Microscope 3 with Case

Additional Photograph: Case with Instrument (1.026).


Ross Microscope 4

The binocular compound microscope has a heavy brass casting that serves as a Y-shaped base and vertical flat pillars. The standard large circular stage is attached to the limb, which is carried on a trunnion. It comes with a wooden carrying case and accessories (eyepieces, objective cases, bull's eye condenser). About 1875. Signed: Ross, London. 4046.


Ross Microscope 4 Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.027).


Ross Microscope 5

This binocular compound microscope is very similar to the above instrument (Ross 4046), except for its rotating stage. Also referred to as the Ross-Zentmayer microscope, it incorporates a swinging stage, a feature patented by Joseph Zentmayer (1826-1888), a German-born American instrument maker. The stage can be turned on its horizontal axis. It sits on a wooden platform and comes with a wooden carrying case and accessories. About 1880. Signed: Ross, London. 5062.


Ross Microscope 5 Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.028).


Ross Microscope 6

The model is similar to an aquarium microscope advertised in the company's 1875 catalog. The flat tripod foot allows the instrument to be placed close to a tank. The square pillar has a rack-and-pinion mechanism by which the horizontal arm moves vertically. The binocular tube is attached to the end of the arm and moves horizontally by another rack-and-pinion mechanism. It has a wooden carrying case. About 1875. Signed: Ross, London 4017.


Ross Microscope 6 Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.029).


Ross Microscope 7

The binocular compound microscope is a variation on the Ross- Zentmayer instrument described above (Ross 5062). It features an A-shaped, tripod foot which supports the double pillars. The limb, attached to the pillars by trunnions, carries the rest of the parts of the microscope, with a rotating stage. It comes with a wooden case and accessories. About 1885. Signed: Ross-5277. London.


Ross Microscope 7 Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.030).


Ross Microscope 8

This model was designed by Francis Herbert Wenham (1824-1908) at a time when interest in oblique illumination was high. It was called "Wenham's Universal Inclining and Rotating Microscope." The main components are of standard Ross design but the large segmental limb, which carries the monocular body, the stage, and substage, slides in a fitting attached to the circular rotating base. This was an expensive and complex instrument to build, and as a result very few of them were made. No case or accessories. About 1885. Signed: Ross, 5250 London.


Ross Microscope 8 Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.031).


Ross Microscope 9

The latest Ross microscope in the collection displays the square horseshoe base, typical of late-19th-century design found in German microscopes. The square pillars hold the trunnions to which the square stage is attached. The tubular limb, with an angular arm, supports the body-tube which has a triple nosepiece. The swinging substage consists of an Abbe condenser and an iris diaphragm, and a rotating mirror is attached to the tailpiece. About 1895. Signed: Ross London 8635.


Henry Shuttleworth

London optician Henry Raynes Shuttleworth (fl. 1754-1797) had his business on Ludgate Street. His son, Henry Shuttleworth, continued the business and dies in 1812.


Shuttleworth Microscope

This Cuff-type instrument has a tubular pillar which supports the body-tube, stage, and the mirror. It is attached to a wooden box fitted with two drawers. The stage and the mirror move by rackwork. Accessories include ivory and brass sliders, objectives, stage forceps, and Lieberkuhn reflector. Late 18th century. Signed: Shuttleworth London.


Shuttleworth Microscope Detail

Additional Photograph: Signature (1.008).


James Swift & Son

The London optician James Swift, who claimed to have worked for Andrew Ross, established his business in the late 1850s. He was in partnership with his son, James Mansell Swift, and the firm, known for its quality instruments, remained in business until the next century. Operated at 43 University Street from about 1872 to 1881.


James Swift & Son Microscope 1

This is the firm's "Challenge" microscope, with a dark brass, claw foot. It differs from the Ross model microscopes Swift made earlier. Instead of the vertical pillars that supported the limb, the curved foot holds the limb on trunnions. The Wenham binocular body moves on the rack and pinion and has an ocular adjustment mechanism (with a single knob) on the back. It comes with a wooden carrying case and accessories. About 1880. Signed: Swift & Son 43, University Street. London. W.C.


James Swift & Son Microscope 2

The dissecting microscope has a large brass stage with hand rests (covered with leather). It is mounted on a pair of straight legs and a curved foot in the back. The binocular body is attached to the limb by an arm, with the nosepiece extending downward. Also referred to as the Stephenson dissecting microscope (invented by John Ware Stephenson in 1872), the binocular instrument provides an erect image and makes dissection easier. It comes with a carrying case and accessories. About 1890. Signed: Swift & Son 81 Tottenham CTRD London. W.C.


James Swift & Son Microscope 2 Detail

Additional Photograph: Binocular Body (1.020).