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AUTHORS: Dr. Barry J. Sobel and Dr. Jurriaan de Groot
CO-EDITORS: Dr Joseph Zeligs, Dr Jurriaan de Groot and Dr Barry Sobel
FOUNDER: Dr. Barry J. Sobel

I would like to acknowledge for myself and countless others, the help of the late Dr Brian Bracegirdle who, along with a few close friends, inspired me both directly and indirectly in my quest for knowledge of the history of the microscope. I first used one of his books, an Atlas of Histology, when I was a medical student in the 1970's. Many years later, when I became interested in the history of the microscope, Dr Bracegirdle's generosity with his time and his unique publications, assisted and inspired me as I strove to collect historical microscopes and slides. If it were not for him, I would never have been able to identify Dr Hodgkin as the original owner of James Smith's Microscope numbered 22. The thing that most stood out about him was his willingness to share all his extensive knowledge of this field, without the least hesitation. I hope I can live up to his legacy by publishing on this website as much information as feasible about the topics discussed, without holding back any relevant information that might prove useful to the users. Dr Bracegirdle passed away on December 16, 2015, aged 82, and will be missed by everyone acquainted with him.

Barry J. Sobel MD, FACP, FASN

This site, started in mid-2012, and first placed on the Internet in February of 2013, includes both original articles as well as pages on individual antiques associated with the history of science, and microscopy in particular. It is intended as a reference, and a resource, to those interested in historical science artifacts. It not only contains instruments still in the founder's collection, but also some instruments formerly in that collection, especially if rare, unique or of special interest. It also now contains many instruments from other collectors, who have generously offered to let me place share their instruments as well as my own. Not only are very old antiques included, but some more recent instruments if pertinent, unusually well made, or of interest for another reason. The founder of this site uses a microscope in his profession almost every day, and so the subject has more than a passing interest to him. Please note this is a continual work-in-progress so certain parts of the site are still under construction, and will be upgraded as time permits.

The authors are grateful to their many fellow microscope enthusiasts who have been instrumental in improving this site through editing, writing dedicated pages, donating instruments, and/or providing large amounts of additional information. These include Dr. Joseph Zeligs, Dr Jurriaan de Groot, James Solliday, Dan Kile, Dr. Yuval Goren, Dr. Brian Stevenson, Paul Ferraglio, Dr Frank Belinskey, Timo Mappes, Jeroen Meeusen, Howard Link, Allan Wissner, Alan de Haas, the late George Vitt, Steve Gill, and all the members of the Quekett Microscopical Club, and many others. To all of you, and the very long list of others I did not mention, I remain forever grateful.

There are a few conventions we adhere to, and you may wish to note when you read about these instruments. First, the side of the instrument refers the side as seen from the rear of the instrument-the side closest to the user when the microscope is in use. Second, when a signature is quoted and is on multiple lines, a coma is used to separate the lines in the quotation. For example 'James Swift, London' illustrates the signature of 'James Swift' on one line, followed by the word 'London' on the next line.
As far as condition is concerned, this is something we started to add only recently so it will not be found on the web pages for all instruments for some time.

There are many original articles on this site, with information often not found elsewhere, please consult them. If there is a term you are not familiar with, or would like more information about, please try my GLOSSARY. If the term is not defined there, you can search the internet or send me an email for a request to add it to the glossary.

APPRAISALS & RELATED INFORMATION: If you have an instrument you have a question about, or a microscope you would like to sell or trade, please contact us. Barry is always willing to answer a question related to any light microscope of almost any age or type, to the best of my abilities. BUT PLEASE be aware that my knowledge and references for microscopes which date to after about 1935 or so is limited, and I may not be able to help with those.

USED AND NEW MICROSCOPES: Please also note that I am NOT a used or new microscope dealer and, with the exception of McArthur-type Microscopes, do NOT collect, buy or sell microscopes dating after the 1935 era. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT ME ABOUT A POST-1940 MICROSCOPE UNLESS IT IS A McARTHUR TYPE.

Please note that Barry may be interested in buying instruments from before 1940 or so, so if you have one to sell please contact him at He will give you his honest opinion and, if I am interested in buying it, he will offer you a price he considers to be fair and reasonable at the time, noting that values change over the years. If he does make you an offer, you are free to accept, decline, or counter the offer. Even if you are not interested in selling, we still welcome any reasonable inquiry, which we will respond to without charge, but please do not ask us to assess a large number of instruments, unless they are unusual, rare or you would like a paid professional appraisal. We would also be grateful for any additional information or illustrations you would be willing to share that might enhance the value of these pages. Please note that, being quite busy, we may not respond right away, so please be patient and I will get back to you.

Please be aware this is not a commercial site and the instruments pictured are generally not for sale, although some may have been sold in the past and are still listed on this site for their reference value. On rare occasions I may put an instrument up for sale, but not on this site. When I do sell, it is usually on or sometimes Ebay, though Ebay has become very expensive for sellers of late.

Note: Barry has a special interest in BULLOCH and WATSON Microscopes and may be interested in purchasing some examples regardless of condition, for a price commensurate with the value and condition. If you have a Bulloch microscope with a serial number and it is not listed in my Bulloch Serial Number Table, even if you are not interested in selling it, please be kind enough to send us any images of it you might have and its number so we can improve our documentation of this maker's work. We will credit you or keep you anonymous as you may wish.

Please note that this site includes many 'articles' which are original and not found elsewhere. Please note these, like the rest of the site are copyrighted, and may be freely used or linked but not reproduced without our permission.