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Beck 'Star' Compound Monocular Microscope

Introduced at a consumer cost of just over 3 in the late nineteenth century, this economical microscope is reviewed in Gerard Turner's book The Great Age of the Microscope. Initially, the microscope was fully described in the Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society in 1885.

The heavy cast-iron foot is in the shape of two triangles joined on a single edge, where one serves as a base and the other supports a rectangular limb. The limb and body tube are made of nickel-plated brass (not illustrated), and the drawtube is engraved with three rings at one-inch intervals. Specimens are secured for observation via a pair of brass stage clips that position a glass slide directly over the stage aperture.

Originally, the microscope was equipped with two objectives and a single eyepiece, with a simple adjustable aperture beneath the stage and a plano-concave mirror that rides in a brass pivot. Coarse focus is achieved through a rack and pinion gear mechanism that translates the body upward and downward to bring the specimen into sharp clarity. To resolve fine specimen detail, a micrometer screw mounted at the top of the limb can be twisted to make minute adjustments to the body tube position.


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