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Early Ross Compound Microscope

William Valentine, a plant anatomist in Nottingham, England, designed this microscope and commissioned it to be build by Andrew Ross in 1831. This is one of the earliest instruments build by Ross, who established his business the previous year, 1830.

An unusual feature of this microscope is the fine focus knob, that can be clearly seen under the base of the microscope. The knob connects to a threaded rod that traverses the pillar or "foot" of the microscope and connects to the stage to effect motion. This focusing technique is similar to that seen in two of George Adams' microscopes, the Universal Single and Universal Double microscopes, both of which were built almost 75 years earlier in 1746.

Another interesting feature of this microscope is the rather long condenser tube that holds the substage condenser lens. A concave reflector mirror is positioned at the bottom of this tube in order to direct light onto the specimen. Because the microscope was not fitted with an inclination mechanism, it was very uncomfortable to use for extended periods of time.


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