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Bazzanti Solar Microscope

Isidorvs Gaspar Bazzanti designed and built the solar microscope illustrated below in 1760. Crafted of brass, glass, fruitwood, pasteboard, and decorative paper, the handheld, portable demonstration microscope embodies both the function and aesthetics that were revived as part of the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late nineteenth century.

Similar to the Benjamin Martin solar microscope, this Bazzanti instrument is designed to fit into an opening in a window shutter and can be used to project a large image on a screen in a manner comparable to that of the modern slide projector. To illuminate specimens, which were often mounted in ivory slides, a condenser lens is fitted into an outer brass tube attached to a square, brass plate. The inner body tube of the instrument is 120 millimeters long and is made of pasteboard that is covered with ornately patterned paper. At the other end of the body tube, the fruitwood lens mount bears a screw-barrel body of the same wood type. A projector lens in a brass cell completes the optical system of this Italian microscope.

When the oversized, rectangular brass-framed mirror, which is mounted below the base plate, is folded closed, this microscope can stand safely in a vertical position. To lock the mirror into position, an ornate brass key is utilized, and a turnkey with gearing allows the adjustment of the mirror angle. Though it is not illustrated here, this Bazzanti instrument also came equipped with a roughly hewn, oak storage box, consisting of fitted compartments and a sliding lid that acted as part of the window mounting apparatus. The microscope is signed "Isidorvs Gaspar Bazzanti Solare Microscopivm Fecit Anno 1760", and bears a coat of arms of six roses above the signature on the rear of the mirror housing.


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