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Plössl Compound Microscope

George Simon Plössl, who was a nineteenth-century Austrian optics expert from Vienna, manufactured this brass compound microscope around 1860. Plössl is most famous for an eyepiece that he designed, which still carries his name.

The microscope inclines on a pivot between the upper and lower portions of a brass pillar, and a large brass stage is supported by a substantial Y-shaped foot. Beneath the stage, a condenser is suspended. Located at the top of the cylindrical insert in the substage condenser housing is one of five interchangeable aperture discs. A plano-concave mirror mounted on a pivoting arm completes the microscope's illumination system.

Unlike many similar microscopes, the coarse focus of this Plössl instrument is not achieved by rack and pinion, but rather through chain links that connect the body tube to a pair of large, brass knurled knobs. Adjusting a long micrometer screw, which is found at the top of the pillar, enables fine focus. However, though six different eyepieces are associated with the instrument and are included in the Royal Microscopical Society collection, an objective for the microscope is lacking. Accompanying the instrument in the collection, but not illustrated here, are a velvet-lined walnut storage box and several accessories.


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