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c. 2ND to 3rd QUARTER 19TH C.


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This microscope consists of piece of bent brass similar to tongs or tweezers, with a stage on one side and the optics on the other. Focusing is by a thumbwheel separating the two pieces of brass. It is signed '≠≠≠Spencer & Son Dublin' on the stage and 'Porte's(?), Field Microscope' on the arm. There are two Gould-type simple lenses that screw into the arm above the stage, and a compound Gould-type body screws into the objectives. This microscope, just like a Gould type, can be used as a simple or compound instrument. It has two holes in the stage presumably for stage clips and there are two tiny pins projecting from the underside of the stage presumably to prevent the microscope from moving. The stage measures 52 x 48.5 mm. It is 98 mm long and about 111 mm in maximum height with the compound body attached. The first word above 'Field Microscope' is likely 'Porte's' referring to George Porte, a founding member of the Dublin Microscopical club, formed in 1849.


John Spencer and Son were instrument makers in Dublin. They were successors to John Spencer(1838-63) who operated in Dublin for many years before. Johnís last address, starting at 1852, was at 13 Aungier St and that was also the initial address of Spencer & Son. John was known to have sold microscopes. It is unclear when the name Spencer & Son was first used. It was presumably before 1863 when John died. In 1869 they were the first to make the Stoney Heliostat. They were also known to sell imported French microscopes. The microscope seen on this page uses optics that were first devised by Charles Gould about 1825. One can then surmise this microscope dates after that, but as of the time of this writing, in May of 2016, I cannot date the signature of Spencer & Son with certainty. Gould type microscopes are uncommon after the 1850's. George Porte was a well respected founding member of the Dublin Microscopical Club, founded in 1849. I have not yet found a reference to his name associated with any microscope per se, so the attribution is somewhat circumstantial, though logical.

Thanks to Dr Brian Stevenson for discovering George Porte and the Dublin Microscopical Club.