Early 20th Century Microscopes by Zeiss

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Carl Zeiss, Stativ Ic, 1903

References: Mappes; German Museum Munich, Inv.-No. 3453; Collection of the Royal Microscopic Society, Inventory no. 272: 310 and  319; Billings Collection Washington, AFIP 17776 - 60-4713-107, p. 120, Fig. 226, and AFIP 39-60-4713-385, p. 123, Fig. 234; The Microscope Collection at the Science Museum London, Inventory No. 1989-151, 1986-528 and 1992-1094; Optical Museum of the Ernst-Abbe-Foundation Jena; Optical Museum Oberkochen; Pathological-anatomical Federal Museum Vienna, Museum Nos. 25.346, 29,093 and 26,568; Microscope Collection of the Moscow Polytechnic Museum, inventory number PM 007897 (MIM 430), Oxford Museum of History of History, Inventory Nos. 20525 and 68970; Boerhaave Museum Leiden, NL, inventory # V03062; Historic Microscopes at the Laupus Health Sciences Library, East Carolina University, Inventory no. G4

This microscope was manufactured in 1903. It is based on a new design by Max Berger of Zeiss first introduced in 1898 (Zeitschrift fur Instrumentenkunde, vol. XVIII, 1898, pp. 129-133). This microscope bears the serial number 37910, dating it to 1903. The major innovations of this design were a new type of fine adjustment and a limb having an integral handle (now, often referred to as a "Jug-Handle" microscope). While this microscope is perfectly suited for conventional work, this particular model was made for the purposes of photomicrography and projection. Accordingly, the main tube and the knobs are made of aluminum presumably to reduce the weight on the fine adjustment mechanism thus allowing it to be more sensitive and responsive when the microscope is inclined in the horizontal position (later versions of this model dispensed with the use of aluminum). (Article from the Quekett Microscopical Club).

The plan and concave mirrors are here still connected via a dovetail with the carriage of the lighting apparatus, later tripods of this type are characterized by an inserted into the end of the rack mirror fork. A large cross table takes up the rehearsal. This microscope stand is offered from 1898 as the largest and for all microscopic work suitable tripod. Due to the large tube diameter, the microscope is very well suited for micro-projection and photomicrography. Funnels added to the tripod allow easy mounting of a camera.

Carl Zeiss, "Bierseidel" Stativ IIIE, 1909

 

While this collection is focusing on pre-20th century microscopes, it was decided to include in it this very fine example of a transitional 19th-20th century microscope by the then (and now) world-leading optical company of Carl Zeiss, Germany. 

The profile of this instrument features an integrated “jug handle” (German: "Bierseidel"), cut into a squared off limb, a design that became popular among some producers between ca. 1900 and 1920. The serial number, 43430, indicates the production year 1909. Typical of microscopes of the turn of the 19th century to about 1930 is the combination of original lacquered brass tube, a remnant of the 19th century, with the black-painted ("japanned") limb and horseshoe base, to be replaced by the all-black body during the later decades of the 20th century.

Having already all the optical advances of the second half of the 19th century, scientifically set by Ernst Abbe at the initiative of Carl Zeiss, together with the advanced form which developed from the "Continental stand" of the earlier decades, this is a fully capable research instrument. Even today, over 110 years later, this instrument can still produce crisp and perfect views at any magnification between 50x and 1000x. 

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