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probably made in London

Postcard of Microscope.
© National Museums Scotland


This brass compound microscope (pictured here in its fitted case) was made around 1800, to a design known as 'W. & S. Jones Most Improved Compound Microscope'. The Jones brothers were eminent London scientific instrument makers. This example was retailed by Robert Banks of London.

One of the tripod feet is signed "Banks Inst Maker to the PRINCE OF WALES, 441 Strand, London'. The signature dates the microscope before 1812 when the future George VI became Prince Regent. This instrument contains almost a complete set of original accessories.

This type of microscope was first described in the second edition of George Adams's Essays on the Microscope, published in 1798. This was edited by William Jones, and has been considered the 'final development of Cuff's original microscope'.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-197-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1924.158
Date: Around 1800
c. 1800
Material: Brass, ivory, wood, glass
Dimensions: 16.50" x 12.00" x 3.25" (case)
What: Microscope, Jones / case / microscope accessory
Subject: 22. PHYSICS, Light (Departmental Classification)
Who: Banks, 441 Strand, London (Instrument maker)
Thomas Jones (Inventor)
Where: England, London
Description: Microscope of the type invented by Thomas Jones about the year 1798, in a case with numerous accessories, made by Banks, 441 Strand, London, c. 1800
  • Clay, R. S. & Court, T. H., History of the Microscope. London: 1932, p 201, citing Jones, W. (ed), Adams, George, Essays on the Microscope, 2nd edition. London: 1798, plate 4 
  • For other examples, see Turner, G. L'E., The Great Age of the Microscope. Bristol: 1989, pp 66-72 
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