Microscope (detail)

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made in London

Postcard of Microscope (detail).
© National Museums Scotland

Microscope (detail)

This photograph shows the signature on a compound microscope made in London between 1836 and 1838. Andrew Pritchard (1804-1882) was the third British optician to sell achromatic microscopes (the first being George Dollond, the second William Tulley). After an apprenticeship with his uncle, also an instrument maker, Cornelius Varley (1781-1873), Pritchard set up on his own in London in 1827. He experimented with the jewel lens, demonstrating that he was interested in improving the optics of the simple microscope. However, it is for his compound instruments, especially the so-called 'Pritchard mode' for which he is remembered.

The signature on one arm of the tripod base reads: 'Andrew Pritchard, / 263. Stand, London'. It is similarly signed on the body tube. Pritchard has his business premises at this address between 1836 and 1838.

The type of microscope which is now known as the Pritchard model was first announced in 1834. However, the receipt of the seven guinea Powell 1/8th inch objective, dating from 1840, survives, made out to 'The Rt Honble the Countess of Caledon', as do Pritchard's own undated instructions to her about the use of his three component objective.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-162-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  T.1979.51
Date: 1836 - 1838
Between 1836 and 1838
Material: Brass. Inscription: Andrew Pritchard, 263, Strand, London
Dimensions: 260 mm x 210 mm x 530 mm
What: Microscope, achromatic compound / simple
Who: Andrew Pritchard, 263 Strand, London (Microscope maker)
Arthur Frank Microscope Collection
Hugh Powell (Maker of 1/8" lens)
Smith and Beck (Maker of 4/10" lens)
Wray (Maker of 1/8" lens)
England, London
Description: Achromatic compound microscope in brass, with low power objective, dividing objective, an objective by each of Smith and Beck, Hugh Powell, and Wray, accessories and case, signed by Andrew Pritchard o
  • For Pritchard, see Nuttall, R.H. Andrew Pritchard, optician and microscope maker. The Microscope 25 (1977), pp 65-81. 
  • Nuttall, R.H. (1979): "Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800 - 1860" 
  • Nuttall, R.H. Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800-1860. Jersey, 1979, p 37. 
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