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MICROSCOPE-ANTIQUES.COM     2013-16.




WHITE CLOUD ILLUMINATOR

MAKER/INVENTOR: CORNELIUS VARLEY

c. 1858 (but invented by Varley much earlier)

Varley White Cloud Illuminator
Varley White Cloud Illuminator
Varley White Cloud Illuminator


White Cloud IlluminatorCornelius Varley constructed microscopes from the 1820's through the third quarter of the nineteenth century. During this time, one of the light sources felt to be optimal for substage illumination was a clear white cloud on a sunny day. Unfortunately this kind of cloud does not appear every day, especially in England. Varley devised a device which would convert direct sunlight into a white light similar to a white cloud. This device uses a reflector of plaster of Paris instead of a mirror, thus converting dangerous and yellow sunlight to white light. To intensify the light, a bullseye condenser lens was used. These condenser lenses could be freestanding, but could also be adapted directly to the illuminator as is the case for the Varley accessory depicted on this page. Jabez Hogg, writing in his 1854 edition of 'The Microscope, Its History, Construction and Application', credits Varley for the invention of the White Cloud Illuminator on page 53. Several other authors also give credit for this to Varley.