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Browning Polarized Light Microscope

This brass compound microscope was designed and constructed by London instrument maker John Browning at the end of the American Civil War in 1865.

The original microscope is part of the Royal Microscopical Society collection and has been described in detail by Gerard Turner. Most of the microscope is constructed of polished brass with the exception of the mirror assembly and limb, which are finished in blackened brass. A calibrated rotating ring is fitted into the stage that allows for quantitative polarized light microscopy. The reflecting mirror is quite unique in that it is composed of a series of thin glass plates that reflect polarized light when positioned at the Brewster angle of 57 degrees with respect the optical path. There is an auxiliary eyepiece fitted with a revolving and calibrated Nicole prism for work under crossed-polarized illumination that screws on top of the standard eyepiece. A number of interchangeable objectives are available for the microscope.


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