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made in London

Postcard of Microscope.
© National Museums Scotland


This simple, acquatic microscope in brass is unsigned, but comes with a trade card and receipt dated 1865 for Carpenter & Westley, London. Optically-uncorrected microscopes continued to be popular - and they were less expensive to produce or buy - well into the 19th century, especially for botanical studies. However, by 1865 this was a very old-fashioned model indeed, resembling a design first produced during the 18th century.

The entire instrument is fitted up on a pillar which screws into the lid of the mahogany case. The instrument comes with eight single lenses, two with lieberkuhns, and among the accessories are a glass stage plate and stage forceps.

Philip Carpenter had moved from Birmingham to London in 1826, and set up shop in fashionable Regent Street. After his death in 1833, the business was carried on by his sister Mary Carpenter, in partnership with the firm's foreman, William Westley. By 1865 the microscope business had tailed off, and they were deeply involved in the manufacture and supply of magic lanterns and their accessories.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-161-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  
Date: 1865
  • For Carpenter, see Nuttall, R.H. Philip Carpenter and the 'Microcosm' exhibition: with a note on Carpenter and Westley's microscopes. Microscopy 33 (1976), pp 62-65. 
  • Nuttall, R.H. Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800-1860. Jersey, 1979, p 35. 
  • This instrument is also illustrated, as the type of microscope which might have used jewel lenses, in Robert Nuttall and Arthur Frank. Jewel lenses - a historical curiosity. New Scientist (13 January 1972), pp 92-93. 
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