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Bausch & Lomb introduced their Physician’s microscope in 1877, boasting that it was “firm and well balanced” and well adapted “to the use of physicians and students.” The stand and wooden case cost $40; with two objectives and camera lucida it cost $65. Ernst Gundlach, the Prussian immigrant who had become superintendent of the firm’s new microscope department in 1876, was largely responsible for the form.
This example is a compound monocular with coarse and fine focus, rectangular stage, inclination joint, sub-stage aperture ring with three holes, two-sided sub-stage mirror, curvaceous base, and wooden box with three objectives in brass cases. The body and tube are nickel-plated brass; the base is black iron; the stage is heavy glass. The inscription on the tube reads “BAUSCH & LOMB OPTICAL CO. ROCHESTER, N.Y.” That on the connection between tube and pillar reads “Pat. Oct. 3. 1876.” That on the metal slide holder reads “PAT. DEC. 25 ’77.” The 1014 serial number on the card in the box suggests a date around 1879.
Ref: Bausch & Lomb, Price List of Microscopes (Rochester, 1877), p. 6.
“New Physician’s Microscope,” American Naturalist 11 (1877): 572.
Ernst Gundlach, “Microscopes,” U.S. Patent 182,919 (Oct. 3, 1876).
Ernst Gundlach, “Moveable Slide Holder,” U.S. Patent 198,607 (Dec. 25, 1877).
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1879
place made
United States: New York, Rochester
Physical Description
metal (case material)
glass (microscope material)
brass (microscope material)
metal (microscope material)
wood (case material)
microscope: 28.9 cm x 15 cm x 15 cm; 11 3/8 in x 5 7/8 in x 5 7/8 in
case: 30.7 cm x 17.7 cm x 17.1 cm; 12 1/16 in x 6 15/16 in x 6 3/4 in
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
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The serial number for most B&L microscopes of this period can also be found stamped into the wood of the floor of the case near the front edge in the event the data card is missing.

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