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Unsigned Ivory Italian Microscope

The beautiful turned-ivory lens mounts make this microscope unique among the early eighteenth century European instruments. The model illustrated below was redrawn from photographs of the original microscope, which was photographed and described by Gerard Turner in his excellent catalog of microscopes from the Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence, Italy.

A circular brass stand is supported by three feet and has a circular pillar mounted in the center, to which the body, condenser, and stage are attached. The body tube is constructed with pasteboard, covered with tortoise-shell, and adorned at the ends with a turned ivory nosepiece and eyepiece. An inner sleeve tube is covered with black leather (not illustrated). A bracket with a locking screw secures the body tube to the pillar, and another bracket with a guide rod is attached to the stage/condenser assembly. Both brackets are finished in blued steel. Focusing is achieved by sliding the inner tube up and down, and specimens are held against the upper stage plate with an iron spring. To observe specimens in transmitted light, the microscope must held and pointed to a light source. According to Turner, this microscope resembles a turned ivory microscope made in 1726 and signed by Pietro Patroni, of Milan.


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