Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894), noted physician and author, designed this microscope stand for use in the classes he taught at the Harvard Medical School. It was light-weight, rugged, and relatively-inexpensive, and could be passed from one student to another. It was introduced in 1875, proved fairly popular, and remained on the market for about fifteen years.
A comparison of contemporary advertisements and extant examples shows several minor variations. In our example, the wooden base is shaped like an elongated figure-eight, and the microscope stands on an oval riser. The lamp is missing. A brass tag on the base is inscribed “James W. Queen & Co. / Philadelphia New York” and “Holmes.”
Ref: James W. Queen & Co., Priced and Illustrated Catalogue of Optical Instruments (Philadelphia, 1883), p. 112.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Queen and Company
Physical Description
brass (microscope material)
wood (microscope material)
iron (microscope material)
brown (overall color)
green (overall color)
black (overall color)
wood (case material)
microscope: 26.6 cm x 10.5 cm x 30 cm; 10 1/2 in x 4 1/8 in x 11 13/16 in
case: 29.2 cm x 18.3 cm x 33.1 cm; 11 1/2 in x 7 3/16 in x 13 1/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Mathematics
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Rutgers University, Department of Physics
Additional Media

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