This low-power binocular is a Spencer Model 56 with coarse and fine focus, rotating triple nosepiece (only one objective survives), large rectangular stage, and wooden box. The inscription reads “SPENCER / BUFFALO / USA / 121744.” The serial number indicates a date of 1933. A S.I. tag on the arm reads 31968.
The Spencer Lens Co., in 1929, described their New Universal Binocular Microscopes No. 55 and No. 56 as “exceptionally large instruments” that met “in a most satisfactory way the demand for a large stage.” Each was equipped with Spencer’s new “Multiple Revolving Nosepiece” in which was dust-proof, and so arranged that the objectives could be easily removed and replaced with others.
Ref: Spencer Lens Co., Catalog of the More Popular Spencer Microscopes, Microtomes and Accessories (Buffalo, N.Y., 1929), pp. 30-31.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Spencer Lens Company
Physical Description
glass (microscope material)
metal (microscope material)
wood (case material)
microscope: 24.3 cm x 13.6 cm x 18 cm; 9 9/16 in x 5 3/8 in x 7 1/16 in
case: 35 cm x 19.7 cm x 23.4 cm; 13 3/4 in x 7 3/4 in x 9 3/16 in
place made
United States: New York, Buffalo
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Division of Marine Invertebrates, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

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