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Collins "Harley" brass binocular microscope circa 1878

A large and impressive example of the Charles Collins "Harley" model brass binocular. (See photos for a size comparison to a standard microscope.) The microscope measures 18" tall in closed position. It is signed "C. Collins, Optician, 157 Gt. Portland Str., London" on the base. Collins worked at this address from about 1875 to 1890. This grand model has a number of advanced features, including a geared rotating stage, and a geared rotating sub-stage condenser holder. The mechanical slide stage has two knobs that are removable for storage. Coarse focus is rack and pinion in a dove-tailed joint. Fine focus is with a sensitive nosepiece knob with indicator numbers. All controls on the microscope work smoothly and firmly. The sub-stage condenser assembly is fully adjustable. It moves up and down in a geared dove-tail joint, and is centerable with two thumb knobs, one in front, the other on the side. A variable iris diaphragm is built into the unit. The 2 " diameter plano-concave mirror is in very good usable condition with very minor age spotting on the plane side, and some veining and several larger spots on the concave side. The Wenham binocular prism is in excellent condition. The eyepiece width is adjustable with rack and pinion control. The microscope comes with an extensive optical system. It has a pair of binocular eyepieces, which are marked in script "Collins, London, C, Achromatic" around the ring. Both have eye cups. In addition, three higher power monocular eyepieces are included, one very high power eyepiece is marked "F".  Finally, there is a wide eyepiece with a micrometer grid and extension tube. The five objectives have matching brass canisters. A 4" lens is in a canister marked "Baker, London" on the top. The other lenses are unmarked, and include a 2", 1", ", and a ". The system comes with three condensers. The first is an optical model with a removable front element to accommodate both high and low power lenses. There are two parabolic condensers, one with a fixed black center spot, the other with an adjustable height center spot. Other accessories include a stage forceps, live box, fish plate, and prism camera lucida attachment. The instrument is finished in lacquered brass. The lacquer is nearly complete with some spotting and streaking on the front of the barrel, especially near the nosepiece. The microscope is housed in a very large, 20" tall , hand dove-tailed mahogany case with two accessory drawers. One of the drawers has slots for twenty-nine slides. Overall, this is a venerable instrument from an established London maker. It is in very good, usable condition, and makes a large, impressive display.

Item 1120

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