This is a compound monocular with coarse and fine focus, triple nosepiece, inclination joint, circular stage, and sub-stage iris diaphragm; the sub-stage mirror is missing. The inscription on the tri-leg base reads “Queen & Co. Philada” and “1392.”
This appears to be an Acme No. 3. Sidle & Poalk began making Acme microscope in 1879. By 1880, the firm had moved from Philadelphia to Lancaster, and was trading as John W. Sidle & Co. and/or the Acme Optical Works. Queen & Co. took over production soon thereafter.
Describing the Queen business in April 1888, a reporter for Scientific American noted that “The microscopes of the various ‘Acme’ patterns are made here, these being finished up in lots of from 25 to 50 of a kind; many of the parts are made up by hundreds at a time. As the best drawn steel pinions to be found in the market have proved to be of insufficient exactness to make a perfect rack and pinion movement, all the pinions and racks used here in the manufacture of microscopes are cut by fine machinery specially adapted to this work. To secure smoothness in motion, each rack and pinion is ‘ground in.’ The making and adjustment of the rack and pinion is one of the most vital points of a microscope; indeed, it is an art of itself.”
Ref: James W. Queen & Co., Priced and Illustrated Catalogue of Microscopes and Accessories (Philadelphia, 1890), pp. 46-48.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
James W. Queen & Co.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
glass (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 36.2 cm x 14.8 cm x 20.8 cm; 14 1/4 in x 5 13/16 in x 8 3/16 in
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
ID Number
catalog number
accession 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 Insects, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.