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 in London in 1841 or 1842. The signature on the body tube reads: 'Andw. Rofs / 33 regent St. / Piccadilly/ No 30'.

By 1840, three new instrument makers, exclusively manufacturing microscopes, had emerged in London, who had learned how to make successful achromatic instruments. Through J.J. Lister's optical theory and their own remarkable skill, their microscopes were the best available optically. One of these, Andrew Ross (1798-1859), had long been involved in the trade, and he formed Andrew Ross & Co. in 1837, probably with financial assistance from Lister.

Andrew Ross's partnership ceased at some point in 1841. Subsequently, he began numbering his instruments: no 33 is in the collection of the Royal Microscopical Society, and is very similar to this example. It is also similar to the design illustrated by Ross in the article he wrote on the microscope for the Penny Cyclopaedia in 1839. In 1843, he introduced a Y-shaped foot, with bar-limb, which subsequently became known as the 'Ross model' microscope.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-941-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.1995.54
Date: 1841 - 1842
1841 or 1842
Material: Brass, mahogany. Inscription: Andw Ross 33 Regent St. Piccadilly No. 30; Andw Ross Optician 33 Regent St. Piccadilly
Dimensions: 460 mm H
What: Microscope, achromatic, compound / accessory / case
Who: Andrew Ross, 33 Regent Street, Piccadilly, London (Maker)
Where: England, London, Piccadilly (33 Regent Street)
Description: Early compound achromatic brass microscope with accessories and mahogany case, by Andrew Ross, Piccadilly, London, c. 1841 - 1842
  • For a similar instrument, see Turner, G.L'E. The Great Age of the Microscope: the Collection of the Royal Microscopical Society through 150 Years. Bristol, 1989, pp 154-5. 
  • For Ross: see Turner, G. L'E. Hugh Powell, James Smith and Andrew Ross: Makers of Microscopes. In J. North (ed.), Mid-Nineteenth Century Scientists. Oxford, 1969, pp 104-138. 
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