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German Scioptic Ball Projector

This unique wooden scioptic ball is used to project the image of a scene outside a dark room onto a wall on the inside. It also doubles as a source of illumination from concentrated sunlight. The model illustrated below was redrawn from photographs of the original microscope, which was photographed and described by Gerard Turner in his excellent catalog of microscopes from the Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence, Italy.

Fashioned in fine mahogany, the scioptic projector also has a square frame with four brass fixing screws at the corners (not illustrated). The ball is cushioned in the frame by a rose-colored chamois leather. Each side of the ball contains a cell fitted with low-magnification lenses and each cell is threaded to accept a projection telescope or microscope. Later models were fitted with an adjustable mirror to reflect illumination from the sun, greatly improving the performance for projecting microscope images.

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