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 monocular achromatic compound microscope made by Powell & Lealand in London in 1847. The signature on the bar limb reads: 'Powell & Lealand / Makers / London'.

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'. They first produced their bar-limb instrument on a kettledrum tripod base in 1843, and it remained their basic design until the turn of the century.

Powell & Lealand probably moved in 1847 from Clarendon Street to the address shown on a trade card contained in the accessories box: 4 Seymour Place, Euston Square, New Road, Opposite St Pancras Church. Powell first worked for his father-in-law, Peter Lealand, in a workshop on the edge of a slum area subsequently cleared by the advent of the railways; in 1841 it was so congested that the census officer was unable to obtain returns.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-949-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: 1847
  • 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. Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800-1860. Jersey, 1979, p 41. 
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