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Browning Portable brass microscope – circa 1880

First offered by John Browning in 1877, this portable field microscope is similar to instruments made by J. Swift at that time and is possibly attributable to them. The instrument measures less that 9" as shown here. When folded, it fits in a case that is only 7 " long by 3" wide. The case is covered in black leather and lined with a navy blue fabric. The microscope is signed in script on the tube sleeve: "John Browning, 63 Strand, London, 889."  The microscope has a push tube focus supplemented with a finer focus control knob on top of the limb. It has a slightly concave mirror in excellent condition. Two stackable button lenses have three elements each. The elements on each lens can be used separately or mixed and matched for an almost infinite variety of magnifications. The single eyepiece fits in a draw tube that also serves to alter magnification. The optical system is excellent, yielding surprisingly sharp images with good contrast. A condenser lens screws onto the side of the barrel to illuminate opaque subjects. A stage forceps fits into a holder on the limb. Two legs fold out to form a stable tripod base in conjunction with the main limb. The instrument is finished in lacquered brass with 100% coverage and only minimal signs of wear. The brass is intentionally not lacquered where parts would rub against each other. This is an excellent working example of the portable field microscope that gained popularity in the last quarter of the 19th century.

Item 1160

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