Smith & Beck Educational brass microscope – circa 1858

 A rare and nearly complete set of the Smith & Beck Educational microscope, signed on its side plate, "Smith & Beck, London, 1803". The serial number would date the instrument to 1899, although by that time the firm of Smith & Beck had become Smith, Beck & Beck with the admission of Beck’s brother as a partner in the firm. The microscope was cleverly designed to fold up compactly for storage along with its accessories into a small (12" x 5 ½" x 5 1/2") mahogany case. In its open position, as shown in the photo, the microscope stands at a working height of 15". Coarse focus is a sliding eyepiece tube, and fine focus with a micrometer knob, which works properly. The eyepiece tube is removed and reversed for storage. The optical system consists of three unmarked but original objectives that appear to be a 2", ½", and ¼" focal lengths. The lenses fit into brass canisters. There are two eyepieces, also unmarked, but apparently 5x and 10x. The optical system is excellent, producing clear, sharp, and nearly flat images of good contrast. The plano-concave mirror is in excellent condition. A condenser lens is attached to the side of the stage to focus light on opaque specimens. Other accessories include four substage condensers: a small stop that can also be blocked out for opaque viewing. The size of this condenser stop is described by Richard Beck in his book, "The Achromatic Microscope" as being designed to perfectly accommodate the different lenses by sliding the condenser up and down. There is a parabolic condenser with center spot, and an open dark field condenser. The final condenser is a nicol prism polarizer and accompanying eyepiece analyser. A leiberkuhn is included and fits the middle focal length lens. Finally, a camera lucida eyepiece, a brass live box slide, and a glass zoophyte trough complete the accessory list. The microscope is finished in oxidized lacquered brass, with a machined brass stage, a polished brass draw tube, and black painted side plates. The finish is complete and in very good condition, noting some typical scratch wear to the surface. The entire set fits into a mahogany case with lock but no key. The case is in very good, usable condition. It is quite rare to find this unique model in such complete and excellent condition. With its unusual compact storage system, it is one of the most interesting microscopes to display.

Item 1257....................$1650

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