J. Swift & Son, The Discovery Microscope, 1901-10


In 1901 James Swift & Son designed this portable yet competent model specifically for the RRS. Discovery (photo below) for the 1901-1904 Antarctic expedition was the first official British exploration of the Antarctic regions since James Clark Ross's voyage sixty years earlier. Organized on a large scale under the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) joint committee, the expedition aimed to conduct scientific research and geographical exploration in what was then primarily an untouched continent. It launched the Antarctic careers of many who would become leading figures in the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, including Robert Falcon Scott, who led the expedition, and Ernest Shackleton, who served as the third officer. This microscope was named in the catalog of the time as the 'Discovery' model.

ReferencesJ. RMS 1904: 103, 105; MHS: 44459; Billings: P. 111, Fig. 209, AFIP 17783-60-4713-161; Christie's 1995a: 239; Sobel.