Compound, Simple and Magic Lantern Microscopical Cabinet by George Adams Jr., ca.1780

Compound, Simple and Magic Lantern Microscopical Cabinet by George Adams Jr., ca.1780

Stock Number: FG_21036


Very rare late 18th-century mahogany wood box, with a compound microscope and many accessories, objectives, and specimens, designed to be combined with the famous Adams lucernal microscope. This optical compendium is unsigned but was certainly made by George Adams Junior. It contains many elements and accessories of the magic lantern microscope and the compound microscope. Grand Duke Ferdinand III personally donated an identical set to the Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale of Florence in 1791.


Case: 35 X 26 X 10 cm., weight: over 4 kg.



Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Scientific, Microscopy, Mineralogy & Gemmology, Natural history, Magic Lanterns & Optical Toys, Other Technology Antiques


This is a  rare late 18th-century cabinet of microscopical instruments nicely housed in a magnificent mahogany wood case. It contains a Martin-like “Universal” compound and simple microscope with many accessories, and a magic lantern (Lanterna Magica) microscope with objectives, Lieberkühn, and specimens, which optionally may be combined (as we know from the Museo Galileo example) with another case including the famous Adams lucernal microscope. These optical compendia are unsigned but were undoubtedly made by George Adams Junior (1750–1795). Ferdinand III Grand Duke of Tuscany (1769-1824), Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and Bohemia from 1790 to 1792, and Archduke of Austria and Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1765 to 1790, personally donated a similar set to the Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale (AKA Museo Galileo) of Florence in 1791.

The compound microscope is mounted on a square-sectioned pillar fitted with a flat tripod. The illumination mirror is hinged near the base and above it travels the stage. The body tube is attached to the top of the pillar and its eyepiece is fitted with two converging lenses and a field lens. The instrument, which fits into the same box as the lucernal microscope, also has an objective.

Condition is excellent, please refer to the photos for more details.

Shipping worldwide will be about $150 (£120) because this item is heavy.

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IL Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh was the mythological hero of the cultures of ancient West Asia, who set out on a journey in which he sought youth and eternal life.
Fleaglass Gilgamesh is located in Israel. As an archaeologist researching the material culture of the distant past and using the microscope as a major research tool, for more than two decades I have collected microscopes from the first 300 years of existence of this amazing tool and researched the cultural context of their use. Passion has become an obsession and I cultivate the full and almost unique West Asian collection of historical microscopes. Respectively, I put up for sale surplus or interesting items from the collection. I would be happy to advise any interested collector free of charge. Needless to say, I would love to send photos, information and bibliographic references, and discuss the sale details of the items offered here for sale.

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