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Nachet of Paris, Grand Modèle Perfectionné, 1887-95


This is a good and interesting example of the large size microscope model by Nachet of Paris, signed on the base NACHET, 17 rue St Séverin, Paris. Thus it can be dated from 1887-95.  The grand modèle was Nachet's best and most massively designed microscope, having a very large double pillar body with the unique base, which was designed personally by Camille Sebastien Nachet. As with other Nachet microscopes, the stand is generally very well made as opposed to some other French makers of the later part of the century. Nachet's large microscope was undoubtedly the best French-made microscope of the 19th century.

A History of the Nachet Firm

Camille Sebastien Nachet (1799 – 1881) was a Parisian optician at the beginning of the 19th Century. After an early career in the French military, in 1834 he began producing lenses for the famous microscope manufacturer, Dr. Charles Chevalier. After 6 years, in 1840, he set up his own small business at the address of Rue Serpente 16, Paris under the name, “Maison Nachet & Fils.” At first, he began selling achromatic lenses for microscopes to different manufacturers both in France and abroad. Then, he began producing his own microscopes based on the drum-type base models made previously by other manufacturers in England and France. By the late 1850s, Nachet was included with Chevalier and Oberhauser as the three leading microscope makers in Paris. 

At the Great London Exhibition in 1851 both Chevalier and Nachet presented examples of their instruments. On final evaluation and judgment it was announced that although Nachet's objectives were deemed to be inferior to those of the leading English makers, his instruments were very well designed and manufactured and his lenses better than those presented by other European makers. He was thus awarded a gold medal. On the other hand, Doctor Chevalier (his former employer) had to be satisfied with an honorable mention. 

In 1862, Camille Nachet moved his optical workshop to 17 Rue St. Severin, Paris. By the year 1880, Camille Nachet was ailing and so he was succeeded by his son, Jean Alfred (1831-1908). At that time the name of the firm was changed from Nachet et Fils to A. Nachet and instruments were signed simply “Nachet.” Camille Nachet died in the year 1881. In the year 1890, the name of the firm was changed back to Nachet et Fils once more. By the year 1898, Nachet had taken over the other Paris optical firms of Hartnack et Prazmowski and also Besu, Hausser et cie to become THE principal microscope manufacturer in Paris. The firm continued to operate well into the 20th Century. 


© Microscope History all rights reserved

ReferencesHarvard 1862: 14; Nuttall 1979: 55; Golub: No. 136 (earlier version); Boerhaave: V07198, V07199; Jeroen Meeusen; Wissner.

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