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SOLD BY: Orange Judd Company via the American Agriculturist Magazine

MODEL: 'American Agriculturist Compound Microscope'

EARLY MODEL: c.1879 to c. 1885(?)
NEXT MODEL: c 1878-85
LATE MODEL: c. 1886-1890'S(?)

EARLY MODEL SIGNED: 'American Agriculturist Compound Microscope' on the foot and 'Bausch & Lomb, Optical Co' on the optical tube
MIDDLE MODEL SIGNED: 'Bausch & Lomb, Optical Co' on the optical tube
LATE MODEL SIGNED: only on the stage: 'McAllister, New York'


Please Click On Any Picture for a Larger Version

The American Agriculturist Magazine, owned by the Orange Judd Company advertised various premiums either given to customers who could supply multiple subscriptions, or for payment. Among these premiums were a variety of both simple and compound microscopes. The simple microscopes are reviewed elsewhere on this site. This page concentrates on the two models of compound microscopes Judd called the 'American Agriculturist Compound Microscope.' The early compound model was apparently introduced in 1879, and resembled 'Household' microscopes of the time. This was then improved and featured the standard B & L type of Y-shaped foot with round uprights. Later still, further improvements included a slightly larger model with a mirror which could rotate as far as above the stage with its center of rotation at the level of the stage, as invented by Zentmayer. The latest model, introduced a few years later, was none other than the Bausch & Lomb 'Library Microscope' but advertised in the Magazine as the 'Improved American Agriculturist Compound Microscope'. The earliest model was apparently accompanied, at least on some occasions,by a 1877 book by John Phin entitled 'Practical Hints on the Selection and Use of the Microscope, Intended for Beginners' This little 180 page book, then in its second edition, offered practical advice and illustrations of various microscopes but did not include an illustration of the American Agriculturist Compound Microscope. An insert on the front cover explains how this book was substituted for a book specifically about the American Agriculturist Compound Microscope because of an illness afflicting Phin at the time and that additional written instructions about the Agriculturalist Compound Microscope accompanied the book.

The example of the book pictured above apparently belonged to a William P. Kochenour. A man by this name was born in 1848 and died in 1924. He graduated from the 'Hospital College of Medicine' of Louisville, KY in 1884(according to an obituary). He was born in and lived in Indiana. He therefore would have owned this book and an example of the early version of the American Agricultural Compound Microscope before he entered medical school. He was living in Rego IN when he died in 1924.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EARLY MODEL: This is a small compound microscope in the style of other 'household' type microscopes of the second half of the 19th century. It is signed on the green foot in raised gold-painted letters: 'American Agriculturist Compound Microscope'. It is also signed on the nickel-plated optical tube: 'Bausch & Lomb, Optical Co'. In contrast to many of the 'household' type microscopes, it is at least partly made in America. Also different from the others, was the use of a substage wheel of apertures, the latter not a common feature of the other 'household' type microscopes The substage wheel of apertures, like many made by B & L, is made of hard rubber. Very early on, the stage itself may have been made of hard rubber, but my example has a black-painted metal stage, with a hard rubber wheel of apertures attached to its underside. Two other features of note are the nickel-plating of the main optical tube, and the higher quality rack and pinion mechanism, where the rack is attached to the outside of the tube, and has a round-and-flat profile similar to Zeiss microscopes of the period. This latter profile of the rack made this microscope focusing mechanism much more stable, and less likely to wobble. This example has no drawtube, although as can be seen from the engraving at the top left, that was apparently added soon after the original model was produced.

The later model, referred to in the Magazine as the 'Improved American Agriculturist Compound Microscope' was apparently introduced by 1886. Although larger than the early form, it is still a rather small microscope. It is supported by a Y-shaped foot from which arise two pillars. The curved Lister limb, passes throught the inclination joint. The limb is attached the lacquered brass stage with stage clip(1 of 2 remaining), The mirror attaches by gimbal to the end of the tail piece, which has an axis of rotation at the level of the stage. The mirror tailpiece can rotate to allow the mirror to reflect top lighting onto the stage from above. There is a 3 button objective, a nickel-plated drawtube, and a staight rack and pinion for focusing. Like the early model, no fine focus is provided. This example is signed in curved letters inside a small circle on the stage: 'McAllister, New York'.

The Orange Judd Company, owner of the American Agriculturist Magazine, offered a simple microscope made by Bausch & Lomb starting about 1877. It was offered as a premium free to those who could supply 7 subscriptions or was priced at $2.75 if bought outright.

1879The American Agricultural Compound microscope was announced only two years later in an ad in the 1879 volume of the American Agriculturist magazine(left). It was proudly touted as more than a novelty instrument. In the initial advertisements, quotes from several apparently qualified 'experts' were used as testimonials.

The earlier and smaller model shown on the left side of this page was apparently introduced in 1879. Shortly thereafter, 'improvements' in the design appeared. Initially this was an improved Gundlach-type foot with double pillars; still later, by 1886, further changes included a change to a round brass stage, a bigger Y-shaped foot, and a fully swinging substage mirror; this mirror on the later model can rotate fully above the stage, unlike the early models where its rotation was limited to positions below the stage. These improved models of the American Agriculturist Compound microscope mirrored the changes to the changes in the Bausch & amp; Lomb 'Library Microscope' as made by B & L and sold not only by B & L and the Orange Judd Company, but also by Queen, and McAllister.

As shown in the center images above, the later model is larger than the earlier ones, being 2 inches taller in minimum height, having a much larger foot and other parts. It also had a draw tube which the earliest version did not have. Nevertheless, it is still not a full-sized microscope.