R & J Beck binocular brass microscope – circa 1871

An exceptional brass binocular microscope with a rare extensive assortment of accessories, this is an early model Wenham binocular by R & J Beck, the company founded in 1865 by Robert and Joseph Beck after Smith retired from the Smith, Beck & Beck firm. Rarely are microscopes of this era ever found in such a pristine state of preservation. The microscope is signed on the main optical tube, “R & J Beck, 31 Cornhill, London, 5637”, the serial number dating the instrument to circa 1871.  The microscope, standing 15 ½” tall in its closed position, has rack and pinion coarse focus, and micrometer knob fine focus indicator knob to the rear of the stage.  The mechanical slide stage has full lateral movement and a rotating top plate.  All controls are in working condition.  Lenses include three original R & J Beck objectives (1 ½”, 2/3”, and 1/5” with correction collar) and matching brass canisters, and one later model Swift 1/12” oil immersion objective.  There are three pairs of binocular eyepieces.  Eyepiece width is rack and pinion width adjustable. The Beck optical system is excellent in its sharpness, flatness, and contrast.  Sub stage condensers include a wheel of stops, a parabolic lens with height adjustable dark spot, a nicol prism polarizer and matching analyser, and a holder for the dark wells.  Other accessories include a live box, stage forceps, zoophyte trough, wet slide, a lieberkuhn with brass cap, an original R & J Beck glass micrometer slide, a camera lucida eyepiece (crack to glass filter, but usable as is), a parabolic side reflector (with brass case) that slips over the lenses, an optical tube extender with optional erector lens, the original 6 ½” glass vial specimen tube with original glass insert, and a standing condenser lens.  The microscope is finished in lacquered brass, the complete coverage is very fine with some rubbed areas on the stage and typical age wear overall.  The plano-concave mirror is excellent on both sides.  The microscope and its accessories fit compactly into their original hand dove tailed mahogany case with lock, but no key, the case in excellent usable condition.  Rarely found in such complete and usable condition, this microscope from one of England’s premier firms is an excellent innovative example from the early Wenham era. 

Item 1337

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