William Ladd brass microscope – circa 1880
This exceptionally original and striking
design by Ladd features a unique girder construction supporting an
optical bench type limb. The
microscope is signed in script on the optical tube, “W. Ladd &
Co., Beak St. W. & 199 Brompton Road, S.W.” and dates to circa
1880. It stands 16” tall
in closed position. Coarse
focus is rack and pinion, and fine focus consists of a micrometer
nosepiece knob located behind the optical tube. The slide stage is mechanical with full x-y movement.
The slide stage and substage condenser are mounted within the
same optical bench assembly as the optical tube.
The condenser is a compact and sophisticated optical unit with
rotating wheel of nine stops that is controlled by a click-stop
indicator knob on the bottom of the unit. The entire condenser assembly is uniquely positionable with
two knobs below that swing the condenser on separate pivot points.
The mirror is plano-concave, and in excellent condition but
possibly replaced or refinished. The
instrument comes with two unmarked lenses and one eyepiece.
The microscope has apparently been refinished and reserviced to a
very high standard of excellence. The
finish is relacquered brass in a manner that is in keeping with the
mellow tones and finish of an instrument of this vintage.
Known for his innovation of the fusee chain drive mechanism in
1851, Ladd produced instruments of very high quality and ingenuity. This model, with its open girder base and limb, produces a
visual lightness while maintaining complete stability, even in a fully
Its unique construction, large size, and fine condition make it an
impressive and provoking display.