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John Locke (1792-1856) was a Yale graduate who made important contributions in several scientific and technical fields. After having been named Professor of Chemistry at the Medical College of Ohio in 1835, he went abroad to purchase apparatus needed for that work, and probably acquired this microscope at that time. Mrs. F. G. Hunt gave the microscope to the National Bureau of Standards in 1943, in accordance with the desire of John Locke’s grandson, General Morris Locke. The Bureau transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1963.
Like many English microscopes dating from the early decades of the nineteenth century, this dual instrument could be used as a compound monocular or a simple microscope. To that end, there is a flange at the top of the central limb with a hole at either end: one hole holds the lower end of a compound monocular; the other could hold a simple lens (now missing). The limb supports a square stage moved up and down by a rack and pinion, and a sub-stage mirror. The cylindrical pillar has an inclination joint at the top, and a circular base.
Ref: James R. Fleming, “John Locke,” American National Biography.
Adolph E. Waller, “Dr. John Locke (1792-1856), Early Ohio Scientist,” Journal of the Ohio Historical Society 55 (1946): 346-373.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1830
place made
United Kingdom: England
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
glass (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 45.7 cm x 11 cm x 16.8 cm; 18 in x 4 5/16 in x 6 5/8 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Transfer from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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