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MAKER: JAMES PARKES & SON

MODEL: THE 'WORKER'

c. 1900

SIGNED:'Jas PARKES & SON, BIRMINGHAM'

SERIAL NUMBER: none

DESCRIPTION HISTORY

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DESCRIPTION:

Parkes Microscope Signature PlateThis is a fine example of one of the well-made small microscopes marketed by James Parkes & Son of Birmingham, England in the late nineteenth and early 20th c. It is signed "JAs PARKES & SON BIRMINGHAM" on the attached curved brass plate on the foot. On the outer optical tube casing it is engraved "S.B.L." It could be fitted with a wheel of apertures, or have a microscope objective easily used as a condensor as is the case in this example. The stage was fitted with a RMS thread underneath as well as a slot for a wheel of apertures so either could be used. The finish is mostly oxidized brass with some accents in lacquered polished brass. The mirror is both plano and concave. It came with the original case, as confirmed by other examples with the same case.



HISTORY OF PARKES MICROSCOPES AND THE S.B.L.

worker microscopeAs can be seen in the advertisement to the left, this model was called the 'Worker' and sold for 3 10 0. On the outer optical tube casing it is engraved "S.B.L." which was used as the abbreviation for the London School Board from 1870 to 1904 when it was abolished and the authority was transferred to the London County Council or LCC. The SBL was always short-funded and would have chosen (wisely) to use microscopes of the best quality for the lowest price and this scope certainly met those conditions. It could be fitted with a wheel of apertures, or have a microscope objective easily used as a condensor as is the case in this example.

Some of Parkes' microscopes had the brass plate unsigned (presumably for a retailer to affix his own signature), some with the Parkes & Son signature, and some with the Parkes' trademark of an "eye." Catalogs from 1848 through 1903 are known. Parkes sold a variety of different types of scientific instruments in addition to microscopes.