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Antiques of Science & Technology
W26-23. English R & J. Beck Binocular Microscope, c1870
This lacquered brass microscope, is signed R & J. BECK 31 CORNHILL LONDON, and predates the move of the Beck & Beck company to its address at 68 Cornhill in 1880. The company was one of the principle microscope houses in 19th century England. At the time it was named R & J. Beck it had distinguished roots being previously under ownership with James Smith the renowned instrument maker who collaborated with J. Lister a major contributor in lens development and uncle of the Beck brothers.
This fine instrument features many of the technical advances in microscopes up to the last quarter of the 19th century. Its binocular tube with removable Wenham narrow field beam splitting prism and separate eye piece is convertible to a monocular unit. The binocular body tube has eyepiece rack-and-pinion focusing, nose-piece micrometer fine focusing screw, a single nose-piece, and limb-mounted main rack-and-pinion focusing. The mechanical circular stage is vertically registered from 50-0-25O degrees, its accessories include clip slide holders, specimen forceps and limb mounted object magnifier. The sub-stage bull's eye condenser fits into a signed "Webster" holder with rotating darkfield aperture ring signed "C. Collins, Optician, 157 Gt. Portland St. , London". A sliding collar adjusts the swing arm plano concave mirror. The limb is pillar mounted on a circular disc base and the tripod legs fold flat for compact storage in the original fitted mahogany case 18 x 9 1/2 x 6 1/4" in. Further accessories include 4 objectives all signed R & J. Beck: 1/5 and 1/4 both with cover glass correction sleeves, 2/3, and 1/12 oil immersion objectives; an objective mounted reflector for illumination of opaque objects and two dark wells of different sizes (third one missing) and a holder for them. A few case spaces unfilled. The finish is the original lacquer with some rubbing particularly on the front of the binocular tube. Overall condition very good and in fine working condition.
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