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Microscope (detail), sold by Philip Carpenter

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in London

Postcard of Microscope (detail), sold by Philip Carpenter.
© National Museums Scotland

Microscope (detail), sold by Philip Carpenter

This photograph shows a detail of the retailer's signature on the body tube of a microscope sold by Philip Carpenter in London between 1827 and 1837. The design of this microscope was described in an anonymous pamphlet published in about 1830 as the 'Improved Compound Microscope for Opake & Transparent Objects'. It was probably made in London by one of the many small workshops in the Clerkenwell area.

The retailer's signature reads: 'Improved Compound Microscope. / BY P. CARPENTER. / 24. Regent Strt. London.' It is essentially identical to another in the collection signed by A. Abraham of Liverpool.

Philip Carpenter moved from Birmingham to London in about 1827, where he opened retail premises in Regent Street. At this address he ran an exhibition named the 'Microcosm', which was about the wonders of what could be seen through the instrument. Visitors to it were encouraged to buy a variety of optical apparatus, including microscopes of this type.

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Online ID: 000-180-000-157-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.1979.44
Date: 1827 - 1837
Between 1827 and 1837
Material: Brass. Inscription: Improved Compound Microscope, BY P. CARPENTER. 24, Regent Strt. London
Dimensions: 210 mm x 220 mm x 390 mm
What: Microscope, compound
Who: Arthur Frank Microscope Collection
P. Carpenter, 24 Regent Street, London (Name engraved on microscope)
Where: England
Description: 'Improved Compound Microscope' in brass, with 1 single lens objective, signed by P. Carpenter of London, 1827 - 1837
  • For Carpenter, see Nuttall, R.H. Philip Carpenter and the 'Microcosm' exhibition: with a note on Carpenter and Westley's microscopes. Microscopy 33 (1976), pp 62-65. 
  • Nuttall, R.H. (1979): "Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800 - 1860" 
  • Nuttall, R.H. Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800-1860. Jersey, 1979, p 32. 
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