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c. 1870-1872



AUTHOR: Barry Sobel

EDITORS: Joseph Zeligs, Jurriaan de Groot


Please Click On Any Picture for a Larger Version

sigswinging mirror This microscope sits on a flat equilateral tripod; this tripod is sometimes referred to as an American type but was used in England long before*. The limb attaches to a single pillar which is attached to a rotating disk with silvered scale which rotates on the foot. The signature of W.H. Bulloch Chicago is on this disk. The binocular tube has coarse focus by rack and pinion, and fine focus by short lever to the nosepiece. Interocular distance is also by rack and pinion. There is a slide-out drawer for the prism in the nosepiece to easily switch to monocular viewing at higher powers. There is a Bausch & Lomb double objective changer attached to the nosepiece. The substage is focused by rack and pinion and the substage assembly has a wheel of apertures installed at the top. The long cylindrical substage assembly has a space between its upper and lower parts, similar to the substage assembly on some later Bulloch first class microscopes and also the first class microscope of Smith and Beck. This allows separate accessories to be mounted on the top and bottom portion and the space in between would allow the use of swing-out selenites(as it does in the Smith & Beck example on this site). The large plano and concave mirror is 2 inches in diameter (excluding the brass portion). The mirror sits in a gimbal and can slide up and down the rectangular tailpiece. The tailpiece for the mirror is separate from the substage, and can swing left and right, but it cannot swing above the stage. This type of mirror assembly was also found on Bulloch's C model, as well as Zentmayer's Army Hospital model. Swinging tailpieces which could not swing above the stage were also found on Bulloch's A, D, E, and F models. The limb has a round hole in it to accept an accessory, and has a knurled knob to secure such an accessory. This is a feature found on Lister Limb microscopes such as that of James Smith as early as the 1840's.

tension adjustment knobcalibrations for X-Y motionThe mechanical stage is square. The rotating slide-holding assembly, with a silvered calibrated scale on its edge, has two sliding slide-holders, one with brass leaf springs to help secure a slide in place. The concentric stage controls activate the X-motion(right-left) by screw and Y axis (front-back)movement by a fusee chain. A small knob (green arrow, left) is attached to a bracket at the rear of the top stage plate to adjust the tension on the fusee chain. There is a silvered calibration plate on the rear of the plate of the stage moving in the X-axis. The top plate of the stage, which moves in the Y-axis, has an indicator line (A) on its left side to register against a scale found on the left side of the silvered plate. X axis (right-left motion) of the stage registers against a fixed silvered piece(B) attached to the front side of the limb. There is an L-shaped removable brass piece on the left side of the stage slide-holder to register a slide for allowing one to locate an area previously noted by using the calibrated scales. This stage is virtually identical to a mechanical stage used by Pike in the same era, and Zentmayer before him. The slide holder is identical to those used by Pike and Zentmayer with front and rear parts which can be moved back and forth. On the right front corner of the stage is a hole to accept accessories such as a stage forceps.

The microscope is about 19 inches high in working position, with a minimum height of 17.25 inches vertically from table surface to top of eyepiece. It accepts eyepieces with an outside diameter of the portion fitting into the tubes of 32.25-32.30 mm.

wheel of aperturesThe microscope did not come to me with accessories, other than the Bausch & Lomb double objective changer, and the wheel of apertures(left). The wheel has a total of 5 openings and a brass spring stop to hold each in position. One position has no aperture. The aperture with the 12 little holes is used for oblique illumination. The microscope is now equipped with contemporary Bausch & Lomb objectives, and eyepieces similar to what it would originally have had. Since Bulloch never made the optical components, and supplied optics by Wales, B & L, etc, this is entirely appropriate.

*See, for instance the 1840 microscope of James Smith.

Walter Bulloch apprenticed to Benjamin Pike & Son in New York City where he eventually became foreman. Following this he went into business on his own, either in New York or New Jersey, until he enlisted in the Union Army when the Civil War started. After leaving the army for health reasons in 1864, he joined William Wales, the famous maker of microscope objectives. Bulloch apparently moved to Chicago in 1866 but was first listed in the Chicago City directories in 1868. The 1868earliest advertisement from Bulloch that I am aware of is shown to the left and dates to 1868, but has no illustrations. In 1869 Bulloch was a founding member of the State Microscopical Society of Illinois. From October 8 to October 10, 1871 the Great Chicago Fire consumed much of Chicago and Bulloch lost everything. He temporarily went to work for Tolles in Boston. He apparently was back in Chicago by 1872. According to an article in the JRMS, the Sector Microscope was first produced in 1873, and the known engraving of it illustrates a serial number of 52. By 1875, he was making his stand A.

It would be fair to assume that number 32 is earlier than the Sector microscope, and c. 1870-72 would be a reasonable date for its construction. Since it has a Chicago address, it must date from after 1866. The design, being so similar to Pike designs, might suggest association with Bulloch's earlier work with Pike. But it is notable that Bulloch used a fusee chain drive for the Y-axis of the mechanical stage as late as 1878 as seen on his first version of the A1 or Congress microscope. Since the fire took place in early October of 1871, and he left for Boston shortly thereafter, losing everything, it is unlikely he had supplies or tools to make many microscopes in Chicago when he returned there in 1872. The latter idea would support a construction date prior to the fire, placing the date at about 1870 or 1871. The dating is made more difficult knowing that some of his stands have no serial number, and that no exact records document how many microscopes he made per year from 1866 to 1872. Furthermore, it is unknown when he started to use serial numbers. Was it in the late 1860's or after the Great Fire?

compared stages of Pike and BullochIt has been said that little is known of Bulloch's early microscopes. As seen in the two images shown here, at least this example of Bulloch's early production very closely resembles what Pike and Zentmayer sold. The mechanical stage design, square with calibrated rotating center, was sold by Pike, and a similar stage is also featured on many of Zentmayer's Grand American microscopes as well. The microscope is very similar to the Pike example shown to the right, with the exception of a single pillar rather than the flat uprights on a Y-foot; Pike also made feet with double pillar supports (see bottom image below), on a calibrated disk on an equilateral flat tripod, very similar to what Bulloch did on #32 (but with a single pillar). Since Bulloch worked for many years for Pike it is not surprising this microscope has many similarities to some Pike models.

The use of a flat tripod base and pillar or pillars was commonly used on high class American microscopes, especially those by Zentmayer and Pike. compared stages of Pike and Bulloch
This microscope was found in 2021 near Peoria, Illinois, about 170 miles southwest of downtown Chicago where Bulloch's premises were from 1868. Unfortunately, no other information about its provenance is available.

When I purchased this instrument, it was quite filthy and the center piece of the stage was badly tarnished and pitted. It was lacking the eyepieces and objectives. I cleaned and restored the stage to a cleaner and more original, (but not like-new) condition. I have outfitted it with appropriate Bausch & Lomb objectives, and a stage forceps, and borrowed a set of eyepieces from another microscope in my collection.

The author would like to acknowledge additional editing and suggestions for this web page from Paul Ferraglio and Tom Schwan.

For more about Bulloch and his microscopes see the following pages on this website:
  1. Bulloch: Evolution of Walter H. Bulloch Microscopes-a nearly comprehensive review of all known models which includes engravings and images of many examples
  2. Bulloch Improvements: Improvements and Changes of Bulloch Microscopes over Time
  3. Bulloch Serial numbers-a partial listing of known serial numbers and models of microscopes made by Walter Bulloch and successors
  4. Bulloch Signatures: a review of the signatures on microscopes made by Walter Bulloch and successors
  5. Bulloch Workplaces: A review of Walter Bulloch's known places of work and occupation
  6. Bulloch References: References pertaining to the history of Walter Bulloch's Microscopes