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MICROSCOPE-ANTIQUES.COM     2013-19.




HOW TO PACK AN ANTIQUE MICROSCOPE FOR SHIPPING


Almost every experienced collector, whether of antique microscopes or other antiques, has likely received an item that was damaged during shipping. This page is designed to give some guidance on how to protect your investment. Since there are no replacement parts, such a disaster may not be correctible and insurance is not much of a compensation for something that often cannot be replaced. It is best to remember a few principals:
1. Assume the box will be dropped, thrown, and crushed
2. If there is a way to break your microscope, the postal employee gorillas will find a way, and enjoy doing it.
3. In general, except in rare circumstances, microscopes should NOT be shipped in their original boxes; the microscope should be wrapped separately(see below).

Almost all instances of damage I have had occurred when someone tried to ship an antique microscope in its original box. These cases were never meant to be used this way, rather they were to be used for the owner to store their microscope in them and if used for transport, only for personal transport, not commercial transport.

The first step in shipping a microscope is to realize that all removeable parts should be removed!. As a rule, objectives, condensers, and other easily removed parts should be removed and wrapped in bubble wrap seperately. Objectives are best shipped in their cans, but be careful that each has a wad of cotton on the bottom. The cans should be tightly closed. The cans should then be wrapped in bubble wrap. Eyepieces should also be wrapped in bubble wrap as should the condensers. The mirror housing should be removed if at all possible and then wrapped in bubble. In many cases, parts of the stage should also be carefully removed and packaged separately. If the substage can be removed by racking down or otherwise, it should also be removed and packed in bubble wrap separately.

As a rule, anything that sticks out should be carefully protected, and removed if removeable; if not, special attention to protecting these should be considered. A good example would be the Ivory or bone handles for tightening the inclination joint. You should find a way to protect these parts in such a way that they will not be broken when the box is subjected to crushing or dropping.

Parts should be marked or labeled on the outside of their wrappings. Another and even better practice is to put them in labeled little boxes so they are not confused with packing material.

As for the microscope stand itself, some cushion, either styrofoam or bubble wrap should be placed on the stage. The main optical tube is then brought down onto this, but not so tightly as to bend or damage the stage. The entire microscope is then wrapped in lots of bubble wrap-several layers in every direction, so that it is well cushioned on every side.

The case for the microscope can be used to hold the smaller parts, provided they are well wrapped and not simply placed in the drawers or cases originally intended for that. Enough cushioning should be inside the case so that, when it is closed, shaking it makes no noise. The outside of the case should also be well protected and wrapped in bubble. Then both the case and the scope should be packed in a sound box with lots of cushioning between the scope and the box and each of them and the sides, top and bottom of the box.

Caution: NEVER put tape directly on any part of a scope or accessory or the case for the microscope-use shrink wrap if needed and limit tape to holding the packing material in place. Put the tape on the outside of the wrapping material-not on the instrument or case where it can remove some of the finish.

Lastly, it is best to make photos along the way to document your good packing job in case an insurance claim is needed. Likewise, someone receiving a microscope should carefully inspect the package-inside and out and take pictures of any damage or damage to the packing materials.