The Sorby-Browning micro-spectroscope is a direct-vision instrument that fit on the eye-end of a microscope. The form was developed by Henry Clifton Sorby (1826-1908), an English microscopist, and John Browning (ca. 1831-1925), the first important English spectroscope maker. It excited great interest when introduced in 1865, found numerous scientific, medical, and forensic applications, and was still popular at the turn of the century.
This example incorporates several features that were introduced in 1870. One is a bright-line micrometer at the upper part of the prism tube that was used to measure the position of spectral lines. Another is a thumb-screw on the side that was used to focus the prisms and eye-glass on different parts of the spectrum. And yet another is an adjustable mirror that throws light onto the auxiliary slit at the side. The inscription reads “John Browning / London.”
Ref: “On a New Micro-Spectroscope,” Chemical News 15 (1867): 220-221.
H. Schellen, Spectrum Analysis (New York, 1872), pp. 133-140.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Browning, John
overall: 7 1/2 in; 19.05 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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