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This medium-sized compound monocular is a Zeiss model IIa with coarse and fine focus, triple nosepiece (with three Leitz objectives), large circular stage made of vulcanite, trunnion, Abbe condenser with iris diaphragm that can swing into or out of the line of sight, sub-stage mirror, and horse-shoe base. The inscription on the tube reads, in cursive, “Carl Zeiss / Jena / No. 12778.”
Victor Vaughan (1851-1929) was a professor at the University of Michigan Medical School who lobbied for a local Hygienic Laboratory. In the summer of 1888, after having convinced the Michigan Legislature to provide funds to build and equip such a facility, Vaughan and his assistant, Frederick Novy (1864-1957), went abroad to study with Louis Pasteur in Paris and Robert Koch in Berlin—and apparently bought this microscope at that time. Returning home, Novy offered the first bacteriology course in the United States, and is now remembered as an important American pioneer of the science.
Ref: Carl Zeiss, Microscopes and Microscopical Accessories (Jena, 1889), pp. 34-35.
Powel H. Kazanjian, “The Beginnings of Bacteriology in American Medicine: Works of Frederick Novy 1888-1933,” PhD, University of Michigan, 2012.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Zeiss, Carl
place made
Germany: Thuringia, Jena
Physical Description
glass (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 13 1/8 in x 4 3/16 in x 6 in; 33.3375 cm x 10.63625 cm x 15.24 cm
overall: 5 1/4 in; 13.335 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of University of Michigan Medical School. Department of Microbiology
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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