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c. 1820


Serial Number: None


W & S Jones Botanical Microscope


George III The instrument is made of brass and has an ebony foot. A brass fitting to hold the pillar is attached to the foot, held by a round nut underneath. Several examples of this instrument signed by Jones are known; they are signed by a stamp impressed into the wooden base. The base of this example is a modern replacement and therefore has no stamp. The instrument is otherwise identical to another complete (and signed) example in a private collection, and hence the attribution to Jones. The stage forceps and some of the support parts are also modern replacements, but were contructed to identical specifications of the original that I have been able to examine in detail. The stage is focused by pushing it up or down on the pillar. The stage has a hole to accomodate the stage forceps. There is also a live box which fits into the stage. The various lenses can swing in or out of the optical axis to be used singly or in combination. The original red-leather covered case is lined with pale green velour on the bottom and silk on the inside of the lid, and is the same as most other known examples signed by W & S Jones. The pillar attaches to the base fitting through a square hole and held in place by a small pin with a ring handle. There are three objectives, two above and one below a brass plate with an aperture, presumably to limit aberration. When this instrument was received, the lid was lined with a paper referring to George III who died in 1820.


George IIIJones Botanical ScopeThis very small pocket microscope was likely produced by the W & S Jones company, which purchased the rights to George Adams book 'Essays on the Microscope' which contains engravings of instruments which Jones then produced from about 1795 onward. This model was first pictured by Adams his book about 1787. This is the simpler of two versions; the more complicated version had a Hevelius screw fine focus and a high-power lieberkuhn which fit under the optical support as the other objectives were swung out the way; as can be seen from the illustration to the right, this fine focusing mechanism was offered as an option. Examples of those instruments with the fine focus adorn several famous major collections including the Royal Microscopical Society, The Science Museum (London), the Whipple Museum, and the Billings Collection (Washington), but this, the simpler version, is probably more common according to a 'census' taken by Joe Zeligs; I am grateful to Joe for that information. Variations on this theme soon appeared, and included ones with screw-in stacking lenses, rack and pinion focusing, and a type attaching to the inside of the case; these variations taken together may have been the inspiration for the Cary-Gould Pocket Microscope which appeared by the 1820's.