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made in London

Postcard of Microscope.
© National Museums Scotland


This achromatic compound brass microscope was made in London between 1840 and 1845. 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, despite the signature implying that this instrument was made by the firm of Carpenter & Westley of London, known to be retailers, it was probably made by the specialist London microscope makers Powell & Lealand.

This microscope has not been identified with any contemporary description, but its eyepieces and objectives are characteristic of Hugh Powell's workmanship. There are five objectives and two eyepieces. Among the accessories are a stage micrometer, two liveboxes, a glass stage plate and a separate stand condenser.

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'. Carpenter & Westley were in business in Regent Street, London from 1833, where they were suppliers of microscopes and other optical apparatus.

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Online ID: 000-180-000-946-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.1979.57
Date: 1840 - 1845
Between 1840 and 1845
Material: Brass. Inscription: CARPENTER / & / WESTLEY / 24, Regent St. / LONDON.
Dimensions: 400 mm H
What: Microscope, achromatic compound
Who: Arthur Frank Microscope Collection
Carpenter and Westley, 24 Regent Street, London (Name engraved on microscope)
Powell and Lealand, London (Maker)
Where: England, London
Description: Achromatic compound microscope in brass, with 5 objectives, 2 eyepieces, accessories and case, made by Powell and Lealand of London, and signed by Carpenter and Westley of London, 1840 - 1845
  • 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. 
  • For Powell: see Turner, G. L'E. Hugh Powell, James Smith and Andrew Ross: Makers of Microscopes. In: J. North (ed.), Mid-Nineteenth Century Scientists. Oxford, 1969, pp 104-138. 
  • Nuttall, R.H. (1979): "Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800 - 1860" 
  • Nuttall, R.H. Microscopes from the Frank Collection 1800-1860. Jersey, 1979, p 40. 
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