Hartnack early Continental microscope – circa 1870

A well-preserved instrument of excellent quality, this early Continental style microscope is signed in script on the draw tube, "M_or E. Hartnack & A. Praz., A. Prazmowzki Suc_r, Rue Bonaparte 1, Paris". A serial number of 19851 us stamped onto the inside edge of the fitted case and, along with the address, probably dates the instrument to the mid to late 1870’s. Edmund Hartnack became a partner in the microscope business of his famous uncle, George Oberhaeuser, in 1857, and took over control of the firm in 1860. Hartnack continued the manufacture of microscopes with the same skill and innovation that made his uncle famous. In 1870, as a result of the Franco-Prussian war, Hartnack moved to Potsdam, leaving his partner, A. Prazmowski, in Paris. This microscope has many of the design characteristics that would make the Continental style a popular design that swept the Continent, England, and America by the end of the 19th century. These features include the horseshoe base, compact size, shorter (160mm) draw tube, and rear top-of-limb fine focus knob. The microscope stands a compact 9 " when closed. If has draw tube coarse focus, and micrometer knob fine focus. The condenser is a wheel of stops fixed beneath the stage. The mirror is a single concave in very fine condition with typical age veining. A small, green leather covered case contains three objectives marked as, 4, 7, and 8. In addition, there is a low power lens for interior mounting. The lens case is stamped with the same serial number as the larger case. Three eyepieces, marked as 1, 2, and 4 complete the optical system. The entire optical system works as new, producing crisp, sharp images of good contrast throughout the extensive range of magnifications. A condenser lens mounts over the optical tube. The microscope is finished in lacquered brass with a black base. The lacquer coverage is complete with only the most minor blemishes. In fact, the excellent, overall condition of this microscope is so well preserved that it is unlikely the instrument was ever used. It even retains a leather padding that covers the bottom of the base. The entire outfit is contained in its original hand dove-tailed mahogany case with a removable soft fabric insert in the limb. The case is in excellent condition, noting only a small age crack in the wooden inlay around the key hole. There is a lock, but no key. It would be difficult to find a better example of this early Continental style microscope in such perfect and usable condition.

Item 1244

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