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


In 1901 James Swift & Son designed this portable, yet fully capable model specifically for use on the R.R.S. Discovery (photo below) for the 1901-1904 Antarctic expedition, which 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 a joint committee of the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society (RGS), the expedition aimed to carry out scientific research and geographical exploration in what was then largely 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 catalogue 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.