In this dissecting instrument, the body is of solid wood shaped so that the sides serve as hand rests; the lens can be moved up and down and from side to side. The “Atkinson & Mentzer / Chicago” inscription refers to a school supply firm that advertised this type of instrument in 1899. Alfred L. Robbins, a Chicagoan who produced various science apparatus for school use, boasted in 1897 that he had devised and manufactured the form. Three years before that, Bausch & Lomb was advertising a similar instrument that had been devised by Charles Reid Barnes (1858-1910), a botanist then teaching at the University of Wisconsin.
This example came from Robert Leonard, a pharmacist and professor of pharmacology at George Washington University.
Ref: “Primary Dissecting Microscope,” The Microscope 2 (1894): 181.
“Improved Disssecting Microscope,” The American School Board Journal 14 (1897): n.p.
“Improved Dissecting Microscope,” The School Journal 58 (1899): 263.
Currently not on view
Object Name
dissecting microscope
date made
ca 1890
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
glass (overall material)
overall: 9.5 cm x 27.5 cm x 8.6 cm; 3 3/4 in x 10 13/16 in x 3 3/8 in
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
Robert Leonard

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