Polarising accessories

< 1 of 1 > Back

probably made in Edinburgh

Postcard of Polarising accessories.
© National Museums Scotland

Polarising accessories

These three polarising accessories are parts of a microscope made between 1823 and 1829 by Alexander Adie (1775-1858), a scientific instrument maker based in Edinburgh. The instrument is the earliest known polarising microscope.

The black glass analyser (left) fits on top of the eyepiece. The tourmaline analyser (right) can be rotated to find the greatest angle at which light diverges. Both are used with the parallel glass plates (centre), which work as a polariser.

By the time the instrument was delivered to the Royal Society in 1829, the cumbersome polarising apparatus had been rendered obsolete by the convenient Nicol prism, invented by the Edinburgh geologist William Nicol (1768-1851).

Record details

To search on related items, click any linked text below.

Online ID: 000-190-001-069-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1982.90
Date: 1823 - 1829
Between 1823 and 1829
Material: Brass / tourmaline eyepiece. Inscription: Adie / EDINBURGH; ROYAL SOCIETY EDINBURGH
Dimensions: 750 mm x 330 mm x 100 mm deep; 940 mm H x 480 mm [assembled]
What: Microscope / accessory / box
Who: Adie, Edinburgh (Maker)
Cary (Eponym)
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Description: Large Cary type microscope of brass, contained in a fitted box with accessories, signed by Adie of Edinburgh, 1823 - 1829
  • Waterston, C. D., Collections in Context: the Museum of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Inception of a National Museum for Scotland. Edinburgh: 1997, pp 47 & 193 
Related Records:
< 1 of 1 > Back
Powered by Scran