Microscope à tambour, 1870-1900


These microscopes were peaking in use by students and hobbyists from the late 19th and well into the early 20th century. They were manufactured in France and Germany and sold across Europe and the USA. These microscopes were usually unsigned, being made in vast quantities by many makers.

This microscope type is mentioned by the naturalist and author Gerald Durrell in his book My Family and Other Animals. In the box of such a microscope that he received from his friend and mentor Dr. Theodore Stephanides, there was a note saying: My dear Gerald Durrell, I wondered, after our conversation the other day, if it might not assist your investigations of the local natural history to have some form of magnifying instrument. I am therefore sending you this pocket microscope, in the hope that it will be of some use to you. It is, of course, not of very high magnification, but you will find it sufficient for field work. With best wishes, Yours sincerely, Theo. Stephanides. P.S. If you have nothing better to do on Thursday, perhaps you would care to come to tea, and I could show you some of my microscope slides.

ReferencesMHS: 40348; Balasse; Boerhaave V07271; SML: A88752, 1993-596; Museo Galileo 3172; Harvard: , 1295; Kuhn; Golub: 202