I love light microscopy, particularly the vintage but not yet antique methods and models of several decades past. I have a certain affection for the really antique stands and slides as well, but don’t have the bank roll to pursue the fine brass and known mounters the way I might choose. I make every effort to use what antique equipment I do have in a manner consistent with their use when they were new. Which is to say I’m not about to fit a phase contrast set up on a 1913 jug handle, not that I’m opposed to using electric lighting or digital cameras.
I didn’t intend it, but along the way I ended up with something of a collection of things in the light microscopy field. I’ve a dozen rather nice Bausch & Lomb microscopes, illuminators, cameras, and accessories of different styles and vintage. The collection ranges from a Grundlach copy of an early model, to an assortment of specialized stands and a well outfitted BalPlan. For slide prep I have a small (yet growing) selection of modern and vintage equipment and consumables.
On a couple shelves in my little laboratory I posses a small library of microscopy, histology, and associated texts. A dozen or so dating to the late 19th century of which I am particularly fond, as well as more up-to-date works and a handful of the latest from the modern leaders in the field. I try to keep up with advances in microscopy in general and where it comes up enjoy seeing the way various conventions have changed or remained consistent across the years.
Here on my little plot of electrons you can expect to find what I do for fun, broken down and expounded upon in such a way that one might follow along at home. Why? Well it stands to reason that if I succeed in some microscopical pursuit then one might be inspired to as well, and didn’t I mention this is fun? The sort of post one can expect will deal with things such as slide mounting, sectioning, specimen preparation, 35mm and medium format photomicrography, drawing with the microscope, microscope care, practical guides, book reviews, basic optics, basic laboratory technique, and goodness knows what else. Basically whatever I happen to be doing at the moment that seems to me it might make an interesting post. I’ll make no claims at being particularly adept as a writer, blogger, or what have you but I will in all that I post strive to provide good and sound information on microscopy.
I’m not a professional microscopist, and claim no advanced training. I have no more access to chemicals or apparatus in pursuit of my hobby than any average person. All of my efforts are generally such that they are accessible both practically and theoretically for anyone with an interest in microscopy. That said, I take safety seriously and encourage everyone working with a microscope in any capacity to do so as well. Many of the chemicals and implements used in even common microscopy are sufficiently unfamiliar that their safe handling will not be intuitive. Wherever possible I will do my best to provide basic information for the safe execution of any process I describe.
Please do not attempt anything I demonstrate here if you are not confident in your ability to carry it out safely and respond appropriately in the event of a mishap. The first time I used a microtome I succeeded in nearly severing my left thumb along with my specimen. It just goes to show that accidents happen and it’s important to have the knowledge and wherewithal to respond to them appropriately, failing that a spouse in the next room who’ll speed one over to the urgent care center.
Updates can be expected weekly though without any fixed schedule.
perhaps you could point me in the right direction for dating a vintage spencer buffalo binocular dissecting(?) microscope. i recently purchased one and have been unable to find another after extensive internet searching. the 6-digit serial number begins with 176.
any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
this is my first microscope and rather modern i would think, but i will be searching for examples from the 19th century or early 20th century.
The wonderful Herbert Gold put together a very usefull document for dating microscopes by the major american firms. You can find it at the address below, but based on Gold’s findings that microscope dates to before 1909 when serials began with 210,038. Without seeing the microscope I can’t tell if thats a reasonable assesment or not, it might be that the number is not in fact the serial at all! A great deal of the age can be determined based on the form and appearance of the microscope alone (things such as the manner of the binocular arangement, characteristics of the prisims, and even the materials can help imensely) so any pictures you have would be very descriptive. In any case;
Here is Gold’s document:
Click to access HowOldIsThatMicroscopeIntheWindow.pdf
And here is the go-to source for all things AO:
Hello, we both love microscopy, vintage instruments and so on. Your blog is very interesting and well done. Kind regards, Stefano