Microscopy Primer
Light and Color
Microscope Basics
Special Techniques
Digital Imaging
Confocal Microscopy
Live-Cell Imaging
Microscopy Museum
Virtual Microscopy
Web Resources
License Info
Image Use
Custom Photos
Site Info
Contact Us

The Galleries:

Photo Gallery
Silicon Zoo
Chip Shots
DNA Gallery
Amino Acids
Religion Collection
Cocktail Collection
Screen Savers
Win Wallpaper
Mac Wallpaper
Movie Gallery

Andrew Ross Convertible Simple-Compound Microscope

Andrew Ross fashioned the convertible, simple-compound microscope as a portable companion instrument to a full-sized brass compound microscope. Both were designed and commissioned in 1831 by William Valentine, a noted botanist from Nottingham, England.

The inspiration for the Valentine design may have come from Charles Gould, a British instrument maker who had designed a pocket version of the microscope that was portable enough for both the laboratory and routine botanical fieldwork. In fact, many nineteenth-century craftsmen imitated the original concept that Gould described in an 1827 publication. Nevertheless, the convertible simple-compound microscope is an early example of the fine craftsmanship of Ross, who created the instrument only a year after he established his telescope and microscope workshop in London.

Illustrated above in its simple form, the Ross instrument features a lens holder that may carry either a single lens or a Wollaston doublet. When the holder is removed, however, a compound body tube fits the single pillar stand. The instrument also consists of a substage condenser tube that includes an adjustment for the condenser lens and a large, concave mirror mounted on a brass gimbal that is attached to one leg of the Y-shaped microscope foot. A massive mechanical stage is fixed to the pillar stand and is capable of moving at right angles through the use of a pair of direct-acting screws. Later known as the Turrell mechanical stage, as a result of its description by William Turrell in an 1832 publication, the innovative design for controlling x-y translational motion with one knob is the basis for the modern mechanical stage. Flexible, but plagued with certain design flaws, several years later Ross created an improved version of the convertible instrument intended for use during dissections.


Questions or comments? Send us an email.
© 1998-2019 by Michael W. Davidson and The Florida State University. All Rights Reserved. No images, graphics, scripts, or applets may be reproduced or used in any manner without permission from the copyright holders. Use of this website means you agree to all of the Legal Terms and Conditions set forth by the owners.
This website is maintained by our
Graphics & Web Programming Team
in collaboration with Optical Microscopy at the
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Last modification: Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 02:18 PM
Access Count Since March 13, 2003: 18340
For more information on microscope manufacturers,
use the buttons below to navigate to their websites: