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probably made in Birmingham

Postcard of Microscope.
© National Museums Scotland


This brass compound microscope dates from around 1890. It was probably made by J. Parkes & Son of Birmingham and was retailed by Aberdeen jewellers A. & J. Smith. This model was called 'The Worker' and was aimed at the student market.

The microscope has an inclining pillar and a black-painted cast iron tripod base. It is focused is by the push-pull tube and by turning the screw at the top of the pillar. The instrument is engraved 'A. & J. SMITH/ ABERDEEN'. It lacks its objective.

The two brothers Alexander and John Smith, who founded the firm of A. & J. Smith in 1867, were both members of the Aberdeen Incorporation of Hammermen. Alexander was admitted in 1877, John in 1880.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-780-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1980.240
Date: Around 1890
c. 1890
Material: Brass. Inscription: A. & J. SMITH, / ABERDEEN.
Dimensions: 250 mm H
Who: A. and J. Smith, Aberdeen (Retailer)
A. and J. Smith, Aberdeen (Retailer)
Arthur Frank Collection of Scottish Scientific Instruments
J. Parkes and Son, Birmingham (Maker)
Where: England, Warwickshire, Birmingham
Scotland, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen
Description: 'The Worker' model compound student microscope in brass and oxidised brass, by J. Parkes and Son, Birmingham, signed by A. and J. Smith of Aberdeen, c. 1890
  • Clarke, T.N., Morrison-Low, A.D. & Simpson, A.D.C. Brass & glass scientific instrument making workshops in Scotland as illustrated by instruments from the Arthur Frank Collection at the Royal Museum of Scotland. Edinburgh: NMS, 1989. pp 162-3 
  • T.N. Clarke, A.D. Morrison-Low and A.D.C. Simpson (1989): "Brass and Glass 
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