Gould's Improved Pocket Simple & Compound Microscope by Bate, 1830


This is the smaller size of the Gould microscope made by Bate of London. William Cary was a very popular London microscope maker in the late 18th century. By 1821, Cary was established at 181 Strand, London, his two nephews now also working out of this shop ultimately taking control of the business after his death in 1825. One of his employees, Charles Gould, eventually designed this well known type of pocket microscope. The microscopes are compact and fold into their small mahogany cases, which also serve as the base for the opened instrument. This design was quickly copied by many makers in England and in continental Europe. The microscope is signed Bate London.

Robert Brettell Bate (b. 1782) operated an optical and scientific business in London during the first half of the nineteenth century. He got his start in 1804, taking over the business of his uncle and father-in-law (one in the same person), who had a commission to provide the government with hydrometers. Bate expanded the business to include microscopes and other optical equipment, plus a wide variety of other instruments. He was an optician, and so may have made at least the optical components of the microscopes, etc. that he sold. In 1833, he served as Master of the Spectaclemakers’ Guild. He was also Optician in Ordinary to King George IV and Queen Victoria (i.e. he was an official optician to the Royal Household).

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