top of page

Brandeis Student Microscope, 1952-1968


This is the first microscope ever to be manufactured in Israel. The microscope takes its name from the Louis D. Brandeis Technological Educational Center in Jerusalem on behalf of the Hadassah Services for the Youth. The technological high school functioned between 1942 and 1971 when it was altered into a more interdisciplinary high school. Originally, the school included two subjects: precision mechanics and the art of printing. The precision mechanics unit produced the type of student microscope seen here.
The school was very unique. Studies were drawn from seven-thirty in the morning until five in the afternoon. Morning studies were devoted to theoretical subjects while afternoons were devoted to working in a workshop that included sophisticated CNC machines, the most advanced in the country during these years. The school was known for its very selective approach, screening students constantly to monitor their academic achievements. The fulfillment of criteria set by the school principal has caused a small number of students who successfully graduated. It should be noted that the Brandeis school did not require payment of tuition fees. On the contrary, for their work, each student received a monthly salary. Students who graduated from the precision mechanics department and joined the army at 18 (the usual procedure in Israel), were automatically taken to the Air Force.
The Brandeis Microscope as it was nicknamed, is clearly inspired by the contemporaneous Carl Zeiss Standard microscope (see it here). My attempts to check with the history department at Carl Zeiss headquarters, whether the Zeiss company had granted any permit to the Brandeis Center in Jerusalem to copy its model, were in vain. Clearly, the optics were not made in Israel but brought from Zeiss (then in West Germany), but the objectives and oculars bear the logo of the Brandeis Center and not of Zeiss. Moreover, as can be seen in the photos, the 100x oil immersion objective bears the Hebrew word שמן (oil). However, according to Professor (emeritus), Shimshon Lerman of Ben Gurion University of the Negev, whose brother studied at the precision mechanics branch of the Brandeis Center during the 1950s, the entire microscope except the optical glasses was manufactured in Jerusalem.
The microscope seen here is one of a few that still survive in proper workable order. The Brandeis microscopes were used only for the local market in Israel, being acquired by high schools and universities. The microscope seen here bears labels of the Institute for Higher Education in the Negev at the Hias House, Beer Sheva. This was where the Faculty of Life Sciences was established in an institute, later to become the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
The second microscope to be made in Israel is the Goren Microscope, for which I have a patent.


bottom of page