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 microscope made and sold by Hugh Powell in London between 1834 and 1840.

The signature on the foot of the instrument reads: 'Hugh Powell London'. The signature on an instrument does not mean that it was necessarily made by that person, or even in his workshop. Often, makers sold their instruments to larger organisations, possibly even in another place, and the retailer would have their name engraved on them. For instance, this 'Pritchard model' microscope was both made and sold by Hugh Powell. In outline it follows the design published by Andrew Pritchardin 1834, with the addition of a mechanical stage developed by Edmund Turrell in 1833.

Hugh Powell (1799-1883) appears to have worked as a supplier for the instrument trade before he set up on his own and began, in 1840, to sign his microscopes 'Hugh Powell'. In 1842 he took his brother-in-law, Peter Lealand, into partnership, and thereafter instruments were signed 'Powell & Lealand'. After his death, his son Thomas ran the business, which survived on a small scale up until the First World War.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-920-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: Between 1834 and 1840
  • For comparable instruments, see Turner, G.L'E. The Great Age of the Microscope: the Collection of the Royal Microscopical Society through 150 Years. Bristol, 1989, pp 114-120. 
  • Frank, A. and R.H. Nuttall. Early Achromatic Microscopes by Hugh Powell. Microscopy 32 (1972), pp 196-207. 
  • Nuttall, R.H. Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800-1860. Jersey, 1979, p 38. 
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