First-Class Number 1 binocular microscope by R & J Beck

A very imposing Number 1 Wenham binocular stand, signed, “R & J Beck Ltd, London, 21118” on the base -- the serial number dating it to circa 1897.  The microscope stands 18” tall when closed, and weighs just over 15 pounds.  Coarse focus is rack and pinion, fine focus with an indicator micrometer knob located on the rear of the limb.  Eyepiece width is rack and pinion adjustable.  The circular mechanical stage rotates with a knob located beneath.  It also has full lateral movement and indicator markings on the rim.  The substage condenser is an optical type with variable iris diaphragm in addition to two wheels of stops.  The wheels turn independently of each other and allow the center stops of one to be located over the stop openings of the other.  The four stops of the second wheel are the same size.  One stop is completely open, and the other three have neutral density filters of varying intensity -- all in all, a very sophisticated condenser with two centering thumb screws.  The plano-concave mirror is excellent on both sides.  The microscope comes with two pairs of binocular eyepieces and three original R & J Beck lenses in signed brass canisters.  The lenses include a 1 ½” marked as a 23 degree, a 2/3” marked as 32 degree, and a 1/5” correction collar marked as 120 degree.  The optical system is exceptionally fine, producing crisp images of very good color and contrast with a surprising flatness of field in the lower powers.  Accessories include a camera lucida eyepiece, stage forceps, stage condenser lens, live box, large brass tweezers, a brass mounted micrometer slide, glass specimen tray, a small mahogany cover slip box, and a spanner wrench for tightening the limb to the stand.  All are contained in their own mahogany accessory box, which fits into the main case.  A separate monocular extension tube completes the accessory list.  The accessories and case are all in excellent condition, showing very little use.  The microscope is finished in lacquered brass with complete coverage in excellent condition, and showing only minor wear.  All are contained in the original large hand dove-tailed mahogany case with brass carry handle, lock but no key.  The case has an impressive brass Beck “B” shield on the door.  This is a very complete, full working model of an historically important stand from one of London’s premier instrument makers.  It is substantially impressive to display, and is rarely found in such exceptionally fine condition.

Item 1321

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