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John Benjamin Dancer, Large Best, ~1850


John Benjamin Dancer (1812-1887), Manchester, "Large Best", ca. 1855: This high-quality microscope was manufactured by the best scientific instrument maker of the English Midlands during the 19th century. John Benjamin Dancer was a famous maker of all kinds of scientific apparatus including instruments for physics experiments, microscopes, and others (biography). He is well-remembered as the inventor of the microphotograph and much has been written about him. His microscopes are extremely well made and a privilege to handle. In making microscopes, he shared two characteristics with James Smith. First was the use of divisible objectives and the second was that the shape of his live boxes is very similar to Smith's (modified after Microscope-Antiques).

Dancer was a major supplier of quality microscopes as this example to scientists living in the English Midlands. A Large Best by Dancer was used by James Prescott Joule (1818-1889) for his studies in physics.

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