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C. 1915

SIGNED on the case: 'Hofoptiker Leidig, 16 Kaiserstrasse 16, Nurnberg'

SIGNED on the slides: 'C. Leidig, Nurnberg'

MODEL: unknown


Leidig Microscope Outfit


Leidig Microscope Leidig Microscope

This is a simple microscope with a relatively heavy crinkle-finished black enamelled base and a lacquered brass upper portion. The bottom portion contains a single-sided flat mirror which can be tilted in one plane via a small adjusting knob at the right side. Slides are held in place via a slot on the top end which is spring-loaded. Two small projections on either side allow the slot to open to admit a slide, and then when released, hold the slide in place. Three different optical tops fit on the microscope and they are labelled 50X, 75X and 100X. All parts are metal. The base is quite thick and the optical elements are also held in heavy supports. Although the microscope can stand alone, it can also fit into a cylindrical projection on the inside of the upper lid which both inclines it and gives it the weight of the entire box for support. The outfit also includes five small slides, and five even smaller slides. These occupy appropriate sized slots on the right and left side of the case. The case is made of hardwood or fruitwood, and has a silvered label attached to the top signed as noted above. There is a dissecting needle, a tweezers and three tiny corked bottles in the case.

Leidig Microscope Four of the larger size slides have the C. Leidig, Nurnberg labels attached to the left. The larger slides are labelled by pen and ink in script on the right side, while the smaller slides are labelled similarly but on the left side. On the reverse side, the larger slides have a decorative back in a similar pattern to the front, but without blank areas for labelling. The smaller slides have either no paper, the front paper simply folded over, or a back similar to the front but unlabelled. The larger slides range from gray to blue or green in color, the smaller ones either bluish gray or green. Slide subjects include (words are unclear and I may be mispelling them): 'Seide'(silk?), 'Diatom...', 'Gewurznelke'(clove), Skalen v. goldfisch' (scales of goldfish), 'Moosblatt' (moss leaf), 'Salmiak' (sal ammonia, ammonium chloride), 'Chromsaures Kali' (potassium chromate), 'Haare v. Humel'(Hair of bumble-bee), 'FuB der Zikade'(foot of cricket) and Kristale von Kali Hygeminar..(Crystals of potassium ...?)' Leidig Microscope Couter Case Leidig Microscope Label

Leidig Microscope Slides HISTORY: Leidig was founded in 1853 by George Friedrich Leidig. Originally at Worthstrasse, they moved to the 16 Kaiserstrasse address under Carl Leidig and George Leidig in 1870 where they remained until 1930. According to the current website for the company, Spectacles and photographic equipment as well as lab glassware and toys were part of their goods originally, but there is no mention of microscopes on the website. The word 'Hofoptiker' means 'Optician to the Court' and according to their website, the Leidig company was indeed Optician to the Bavarian court.

This particular example of a pocket microscope is very rare, although microscopes of this general form were very common. They have been referred to as 'Taschenmicroscopes,' 'Algensuscher' or Pocket microscopes. This is also the basic design of the 'Algensucher*' microscope popularized by Edward Thum, and this example, with multiple lenses, is the type which Henri Van Heurck described in his 'Treatise on the Diatomaceae'. Many different German firms sold similar but not identical instuments including Paul Waechter. Slides were commonly included, although rarely signed with a maker or seller's name. Leidig is the only firm that I know of that sold such microscopes with the company name on the slides.

I am indebted to Timo Mappes for help with interpreting the slide names and translations, as well as dating this instrument.

For a similar, but lesser quality (and more common) version, see my Waechter Achromatic Pocket Microscope Kit page.

*Algensucher (German) can be translated as 'Algae-Seeker'. Diatoms are a type of single-celled Algae.