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c. 1896


SIGNED: 'Fadenzähler Mikroskop B2, Edm. Gaillard Berlin'

'Fadenzähler Mikroskop
            (Vagus B2)
        Edm. Gaillard
D.R.G.M. No 41223, 43099, 45539, 48071'



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This is a compound microscope with drawtube and a removeable eyepiece but a fixed objective. In English, the word 'Fadenzähler' means 'thread counter'. This example has two 'stages' which also serve as the foot of the instrument, and can be interchanged by simply removing and replacing two screws. One stage/foot is a typical 'horseshoe' type, the other a customized form for thread counting. The drawtube is used to vary the relatively low power magnification. The top of the eyepiece, is made of hard rubber or perhaps celluloid* and is chipped on one side. The rest of the microscope is made of brass. Focusing is by pushing or pulling the optical tube.

insert The foot for use in thread counting has a brass slider which fits into a dovetail. This has a transparent insert(shown to the left) with various standard square outlines, with numbers corresponding to each, 1,2,3,5, and 1/8. The insert fits into a very narrow slot, which is recessed in the brass slider, and is held in place by two tiny stops at the far end, and the square part at the other. The 1,2,3,and 5 are apparently mm measurements, but the fractional size is of unknown units(at least to me). The scale is on a modern replacement material, the scales copied from an original example. The slider has a small knob to move it right or left.

The instrument has a minimum height of about 6 inches(15 cm) and it is about 6 1/4 inches(16 cm) high with the optical tube focused on the scales when the drawtube is fully inside the outer tube. It is about 8.5 inches(21.5 cm) high in focus with the drawtube fully extended. The stages are about 2 1/4 inches wide(57 mm)(excluding the slider) and 3 1/4 inches(82 mm) long and 1/4 inches (10 mm) thick. The brass slider is about 13/16 inches (20 mm) wide and about 3 7/32 inches (81.5 mm) long. Condition is very good, noting the chipped top of the eyepiece, and minimal spotting of the lacquer. Optics are good and the field is surprisingly flat.

knob The instrument fits into a plush lined case covered with red-dyed fishskin outside and gold lettering. The case closes with a hook controlled by a T-rod in front(right). The slide fits into a cuff on the bottom of the case. The extra stage-foot stores in a slot to the left, as can be seen in the images.


vagus2Edmund Gaillard of Berlin was a famous photographer, inventor, and maker of photographic and photoengraving supplies. He claimed his firm was founded in 1863, He apparently supplied his 'Vagus' line of microscopes as a spin off from the photographic supply business, as his first example was intended to be used as a photographic magnifier for examining photographic plates and the like(left). The first Vagus models were compound microscopes on short tripods. They came in two sizes, the Vagus A1 and the Vagus A2. It seems they were first announced about 1895. They were initially considered 'admirably adapted to the examination of screens and for photo-mechanical focussing purposes...'   Apparently he soon discovered these portable microscopes, (vagus means 'wanderer'), could be used for other purposes, and promoted them for, among other things, the cloth trade where they could be used to inspect cloth quality and provide a thread count if used with a scale. But soon they were promoted for many uses(right)

In that same year, as reported in The Process Photogram of 1895, he announced his 'Vagus B2' which 'At the foot of the microscope' has 'a moveable frame containing squares of varying apertures, which allows the operator to count the lines and threads in a given square with ease and exactitude.'

Gaillard was successor to Carl Heinrich Gerold(b.1852, d.1934) and the 'Institute for Color Printing' and exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelpia. I could find no business references to Gaillard on the internet after the 1890's.

The designation of D.R.G.M. reflects a type of registration, less than a full patent, patents in those days being quite expensive to procure in Germany. The DRGM numbers quoted on the case of the Vagus B2 date from the first years of the DRGM system, 1891 or 1892. The DRGM system was used from 1891 through 1945.

*Both hard rubber and celluloid were available at the time this microscope was made, and both likely available in Europe. Celluloid was used to make photographic film, and would have been familiar to Gaillard and also readily available to him.