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This is a brass screw-barrel microscope—of the sort that the English optician, James Wilson, introduced to the Royal Society in 1702—with a detachable wooden handle; three condensing lenses, each in a brass holder; a brass bar holding six objectives; nine ivory sliders; and a forceps. A second brass tube with a large and almost flat condensing lens could be used to connect the microscope with a (missing) window plate and mirror, so that this could be used as a solar microscope.
Colby College was established in 1813, and may have acquired this microscope at that time.
Ref: Deborah Warner, “Projection Apparatus for Science in Antebellum America,” Rittenhouse 6 (1992): 87-94.
Gerard L’E Turner, The Great Age of the Microscope (Bristol and New York, 1989), p. 236.
Currently not on view
date made
19th century
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
box: 3 in x 11 in x 7 in; 7.62 cm x 27.94 cm x 17.78 cm
overall in box: 3 in x 11 in x 6 7/8 in; 7.62 cm x 27.94 cm x 17.4625 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Colby College
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History