Several London opticians began making small, simple and remarkably similar compound monoculars around 1870, and stressing their suitability for clinical and seaside use. The form featured a tripod base, one leg of which supported the microscope, stage, and sub-stage mirror. James Powell Swift termed his version “Blankley’s Small Pocket Microscope,” the reference being to the English microscopist, Frederick Blankley. This example belonged to Richard Halsted Ward (1837-1917), an American medical microscopist. It has a fine focus screw, a red leather case, and a “Swift” inscription. The objective is missing.
Ref: “Swift’s Improved Pocket Medical and Seaside Microscope,” The Lancet 1 (1872): 764.
James Swift, Manufacturer of Microscopes, Portable & Equatorial Telescopes, and Other Optical Instruments (London, n.d.), p. 15.
James Swift, The Microscope and Accessory Apparatus (London, 1883), front cover and p. 81.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Swift, James
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
glass (overall material)
case: 1 5/8 in x 6 3/16 in x 3 15/16 in; 4.1275 cm x 15.71625 cm x 10.00125 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Scientific Instruments
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Miss Charlotte B. Ward
Additional Media

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