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c. 1835, modified c. 1840

Signed on the foot: Cary London

Serial Number:None





Cary Achromatic Microscope details Cary Achromatic Microscope drawer This is an extremely rare if not unique example of an early transitional microscope signed by Cary of London, though it may have been made by a 'maker to the trade.'   It is relatively small measuring about 11 inches high from the table to the eyepiece in the position shown in the first photograph above. The lead-weighted round foot measures about 3 1/4 inches in diameter. The original case has fittings for the microscope with the optical tube removed. There is a single drawer with a cloth pull in the case. This instrument has several features of different microscopes of the early nineteenth century. Furthermore, clearly of an early design, it was adapted to use achromatic objectives of the middle nineteenth century. The optical tube has a shape in common with Jones Most Improved and Cary-Gould type microscopes. Focus is by rack and pinion to the triangular bar supporting the arm and optical tube. The mirror is supported by a single half-yolk which in turn is supported by a ring sliding on the round tailpiece. The foot and support column have features similar to some rare microscopes made by Andrew Ross, particularly the ball joint and its key-shaped tension adjustment. The arm has an "aquatic" motion which includes the rack and pinion forward-backward adjustment and also swivelling motion in the horizontal plane. The two stage clips have long pins fitting into the stage and at the bottom end of each pin is a knob preventing the stage clips from being pulled out completely. The outfit includes: Cary Achromatic Objectives
  1. The Microscope, made of lacquered brass.
  2. One eyepiece
  3. A condenser which can be used under or over the stage.
  4. A nosepiece extension, into which the objectives screw.
  5. Two Achromatic Objectives which screw on
  6. Two Lieberkuhn reflectors which slide onto the objectives
  7. Two sets of slides in cases similar to those also sold by Andrew Pritchard, including one set of "test" objects, another set of "transparent" specimens.
  8. Dissecting instruments include a small brass tweezer and a small ivory-handled dissecting needle
  9. A glass insert for the stage
  10. A black and white ivory disc for the stage
  11. The original case

slides accompanying Cary Achromatic Microscope The slides are contained in two dark-maroon colored tooled leather cases, typical of those also sold by, and signed by Pritchard, though these two cases are unsigned. The transparent subjects include 'sponge,' 'cane,' 'Feather Goldfinch,' 'dissected leaf,' 'Wing case cymex,' 'Moss,' 'Peach Fly,' 'Oak circuleo wing case,' 'Leaf of a Flower,' and 'Tongue of a Bee.'

The 'Test subjects' include 'Scales brasica, curious, Test' and 'Hair of Dermestes.' There are three specimens which now lack a label. One of these three is different than the others in that it consists of two slides cemented together by red wax, but it has lost almost all of its blue paper cover. The test objects have small square cover slips which can be seen as raised diamond-shapes under the blue papers. The test objects are some of those suggested by Charles Gould in his books. A review of Gould's books can be seen on this website here. The other specimens are sandwiched between two slides. For further images and details of these slides see the Cary-Gould slide page here.


Cary is a famous maker and retailer of all kinds of scientific apparatus including globes, telescopes, and microscopes. The Cary-Gould Microscope was a very famous non-achromatic example very popular especially in the second quarter of the 19th century; several examples of the Cary-Gould type are present in this collection. This transitional model is however very rare and possibly unique and likely not made by Cary. The design most closely resembles those made by Andrew Ross in the mid-1830s, and it was likely modified later for achromatic objectives