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c. 1875



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The instrument consists of two brass tubes with leather covering the lower portion. The upper tube fits into the lower sleeve and is pushed in or out for focus. At the end of the lower tube is a bell-shaped opening which serves as a stage and incorporates a large round single stage clip. There is a cutout in the stage which presumably allows a slide to be located in such a position as to allow it to be clamped in place under the center of the stage clip by the two screws holding the stage clip in place. A single unlabeled ocular is present, screwing in to the top(inner) tube. At the lower end of the inner tube is a society thread. A Leitz objective, signed '10, Leitz Wetzlar' and 'C.U. 1X A.D.' is screwed into the lower end of the inner tube.


Lionel Beale wrote in his 1865 3rd edition of How to Work with the Microscope that he had devised this type of microscope 'some years ago'. Since it is not mentioned in his 1854 book, and was shown in his second edition of 1861, one could surmise this might be around 1860. It was produced in various forms over the years by more than one maker, and is known to have been sold by William Mathews, Samuel Highley and James How. Mathews advertised it as 'Dr Beales Clinical Microscopes in 1861, and it was still listed in his catalog of 1875. Mathews' version is the same as that pictured in the 1861 2nd edition of Beale's book, but the design in the third edition appeared different. Highley advertised it as 'Dr. Lionel Beale's pocket and clinical microscope' in 1862. Two of the most important features of these microscopes are the ability to lock the focus, and also clamp the slide into a fixed position. This is not the case for the microscope seen on this web page, which is far simpler. The focus has no locking mechansim, therefore some care is required when one passes this instrument around the room so as not to disturb the slide and especially the focus. Handling only by the leather-covered portion may obviate this problem. Other than lacking a Leiberkuhn reflector, it is essentially identical to instruments signed by James How, such as those shown by Bracegirdle on his CD describing the collection of the Science Museum, London, numbers 27/12 and 27/13.

Dr Guy and James How reported an 'Illuminator Hand Microscope' in the Journal of the Quekett Microscopical Club, October 1872, Page 65. Unfortunately I have not been able to locate any illustration of it, but I find no record of any other hand microscope made by How, so the example shown on this page may be that very model, or one much like it.