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Amici Compound "Periscope" Microscope

The Giovanni Amici design features a body tube that is segmented by a triangular prism box and somewhat resembles a submarine periscope that has been placed in inverted position. The model featured below was redrawn from photographs of the original microscope, which is part of the Billings microscope collection at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington DC.

Crafted in Modena, Italy, the periscope microscope is dated 1833. A seven by one-half inch square supporting pillar is secured to a folding criss-cross shaped flat base. The single 1-5/8-inch diameter mirror is adjustable and fitted close to the base by a pivot arm. Amplification of illuminating sources is achieved by a sliding plano-convex condenser that is equipped with a diaphragm. Specimens were placed on a stage that is positioned on a casing and rotated by a pinion mechanism.

Early microscopists would have peered horizontally through the ocular and down the body tube that is segmented by a prism. Measuring three inches in length, the lower portion of the body tube is affixed to the pillar in vertical position by an extended arm. A triangular prism box joins the upper and lower portion of the body tube at a 90-degree angle. The 2-1/2 inch long upper body tube is placed horizontally and is fitted with a 3/4-inch compound eyepiece. This particular Amici design offers no fine adjustment.

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