Charles Chevalier (1804-1859) was a French optician who, while working for his father, made achromatic objectives for microscopes. He also made horizontal microscopes similar to one that Giovanni Amici had recently brought to Paris. After going into business on his own, Chevalier altered the Amici design so that it could be used in a horizontal or vertical position, showed an example of his new “universal” instrument at the Paris exhibition of 1834, and took home a gold medal. Charles Chevalier’s son Arthur continued the business into the 1870s.
This example, found in a Smithsonian laboratory, has a rack-and-pinion focus, mechanical stage, and sub-stage mirror mount (the mirror is missing). It fits into, and stands atop, a rectangular mahogany case. The inscription on the tube reads: “Microscope Achromatique Universel / Charles Chevalier / Ingénieur Opticien / Palais Royal / Paris.”
Ref: Charles Chevalier, Des Microscopes et de leurs Usage (Paris, 1839), pp. 89-97, and plate 4.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1860-1870
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
average spatial: 10.2 cm x 32.7 cm x 23.5 cm; 4 in x 12 7/8 in x 9 1/4 in
place made
France: Île-de-France, Paris
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Scientific Instruments
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Biological Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Department of Entomology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

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