Microscope, made and sold by Hugh Powell

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in London

Postcard of Microscope, made and sold by Hugh Powell.
© National Museums Scotland

Microscope, made and sold by Hugh Powell

This brass monocular compound and simple microscope was made and sold by Hugh Powell In London. The signature on an instrument does not mean that it was necessarily made by that person, or even in his workshop. Often, makers sold their instruments to larger organisations, possibly even in another place, and the retailer would have their name engraved on them. For instance, this 'Pritchard model' microscope was both made and sold by Hugh Powell. In outline it follows the design published by Andrew Pritchardin 1834, with the addition of a mechanical stage developed by Edmund Turrell in 1833.

The microscope is signed on the base and has Powell's trade label in the lid of the fitted box (not shown). It has an unusually complete set of accessories, including a candleholder and condenser. There is a dividing objective, two single lenses and two eyepieces, and among the accessories is a stage micrometer, a combined micrometer and livebox and stage forceps.

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'. After his death, his son Thomas ran the business, which survived on a small scale up until the First World War.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-919-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.1979.53
Date: 1834 - 1840
Between 1834 and 1840
Material: Brass. Inscription: Hugh Powell, London
Dimensions: 480 mm H
What: Microscope, achromatic compound / simple
Who: Arthur Frank Microscope Collection
Hugh Powell, London (Maker)
Pritchard (Eponym)
Where: England, London
Description: 'Pritchard model' achromatic compound microscope in brass, with dividing objective, 2 single lenses, 2 eyepieces, accessories and case, signed by Hugh Powell of London, 1834 - 1840
  • For comparable instruments, see Turner, G.L'E. The Great Age of the Microscope: the Collection of the Royal Microscopical Society through 150 Years. Bristol, 1989, pp 114-120. 
  • Frank, A. and R.H. Nuttall. Early Achromatic Microscopes by Hugh Powell. Microscopy 32 (1972), pp 196-207. 
  • Nuttall, R.H. (1979): "Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800 - 1860" 
  • Nuttall, R.H. Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800-1860. Jersey, 1979, p 38. 
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