Modern Acessories for Vintage Stands

Partial as I am to Bausch & Lomb I’m not one to neglect opportunity when it comes along. -K

One great trouble of the amateur microscopist is that economics often dictate the equipment one works with. This is apt to be a vintage or downright antique microscope and the accessories associated with such a microscope are available only rarely. That rarity does not translate to economy. Naturally, occasions come about when some piece of apparatus might be found inexpensively and in working condition; otherwise one is left with little choice than to make their own accessories, which can be enjoyable but is not always practical.

Recently I came upon an individual who produces a limited range of modern accessories for a number of redly available microscopes from a variety of manufacturers. One of the items is a polarizer and analyzer designed for use with the American Optical 60. Being possessed of one and a bit of disposable income, I purchased the device and it arrived today.

The analyzer appears to be composed of a portion of polarizing film in an aluminum frame. Not in and of itself particularly special but it is very convenient having a nicely mounted bit of film in a frame of just the right size. It is recommended that the analyzer be placed in the body of the microscope below the angled eyepiece tube. Placing the analyzer thusly dispenses with the difficulty of using an eyepiece mounted analyzer, and the tendency of such to be accidentally rotated.

The polarizer is composed of a similar filter, of the sort available for digital cameras, mounted in a specialty holder that fits over the sub-stage lamp. It’s particularly nice that the filter is of a type so easily replaced, for although the analyzer may be left safely within the body of the microscope, the polarizer is apt to become damaged at some point. So long as the housing is in good shape a new polarizing filter may be placed on it at any time. The housing on which the filter is mounted is perfectly constructed to elevate the filter over the profoundly convex lens of the illuminator.

Testing the apparatus shows that it is of suitable quality, better (as well made modern polarizing films are) than the traditional Nicol prisms. Overall it is very nice, worth the expense certainly and gratifying in use, particularly as it has the very tailored feel of being made by one who possesses the exact model for which it has been constructed. I’ve resisted the urge to post pictures and include links, but suffice it to say the set may be found on eBay.

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