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probably made in England

Postcard of Microscope.
© National Museums Scotland


This brass simple and compound microscope (pictured here with its fitted leather-covered case) was made between 1800 and 1850, probably in England. It is unsigned.

The microscope has one lens objective and a stage condenser, which magnifies available light on to the stage. It is known as the second form of Withering's botanical microscope, as it was recommended by Dr William Withering (1741-99), a physician in Birmingham and member of the Lunar Society.

Botanical microscopes such as this came into vogue from the mid 18th century, as all branches of natural history became fashionable, a fashion which lasted well into the 19th century.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-263-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1979.36
Date: 1800 - 1850
Between 1800 and 1850
Material: Brass
Dimensions: 205 mm H x 100 mm D
What: Microscope, simple / compound
Who: Arthur Frank Microscope Collection
Withering (Eponym)
Where: England
Description: Withering's simple and compound botanical microscope in brass, with 1 lens objective, stage magnifier and case, unsigned but thought to have been made in England, 1800 - 1850
  • Adams, George, Essays on the Microscope. 2nd edition, London: 1798, p 123 
  • Nuttall, R. H., Microscopes from the Frank collection, 1800-1860. Jersey Channel Islands: A. Frank, 1979, p 28 
  • Nuttall, R.H. (1979): "Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800 - 1860" 
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