top of page

Cuff-type (Nairne version) chest microscope, ~1780




For the history of the Cuff microscope, see the example of it in this collection. After its introduction, "Mr. Cuff's new-constructed Double Microscope" quickly became the most popular model of the main part of the 18th century, being copied by many makers in England and across Europe. However, one main drawback of its design was the inability to incline the stand for convenient observation. This was improved by British scientific instrument designer Edward Nairne around 1770. Nairne replaced the solid pillar with a more portable, wooden chest that acted as both base and storage box for the optical instrument and its accessories. The microscope is fixed to the chest with a compass joint supporting the pillar with the projecting mirror on an adjustable arm and three-winged Cuff-style stage with a bracket that can slide over the squared pillar with a fine focus to the side. This design too was quickly copied by many makers. In this unsigned version, the original Hevellius fine focusing mechanism was replaced by a rack and pinion mechanism operated by a milled knob. 

Provenance: Previously from the collection of Dr. Alberto Lualdi, Univ. of Pavia, Italy.

ReferencesBaker, H. 1785. Employment for the Microscope. London: 422; Molecular Expressions.

References: MHS 36418, 51515

bottom of page