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Microscope (detail)

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made in London

Postcard of Microscope (detail).
000-180-000-944-C
© National Museums Scotland

Microscope (detail)

This photograph shows the signature on a microscope made in London between 1840 and 1850. The signature on the bar-limb reads: 'DOLLOND / 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, despite the signature implying that this instrument was made by the famous optical firm of Dollond, it is associated with another instrument, also signed by Dollond, but made by the specialist London microscope makers Powell & Lealand.

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'. The firm made low-power microscopes of this type as auxiliary to their more expensive instruments. This dissecting model is associated with another more powerful microscope retailed by Dollond.


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Online ID: 000-180-000-944-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.1979.56
Date: 1840 - 1850
Between 1840 and 1850
Material: Brass. Inscription: DOLLOND, LONDON
Dimensions: 380 mm H
What: Microscope, achromatic compound
Subject:
Who: Arthur Frank Microscope Collection
Dollond, London (Name engraved on microscope)
Powell and Lealand, London (Maker)
Where: England, London
Event:
Description: Achromatic compound dissecting microscope in brass with low power objective, eyepiece and G-clamp, made by Powell and Lealand of London, and signed by Dollond of London, 1840 - 1850
References:
  • For Dollond, see Porter, Roy, Simon Schaffer, J.A. Bennett and Olivia Brown. Science and Profit in 18th Century London. Cambridge, 1985, pp 29-30. 
  • For Powell: 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. 
  • Nuttall, R.H. (1979): "Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800 - 1860" 
  • Nuttall, R.H. Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800-1860. Jersey, 1979, p 39. 
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