A fine and historically important Carl Zeiss, Jena. Stativ (Stand) V #5945 puchased by J. B. Dancer 18/10/1882.
Theoretically, this microscope was purchased by Dancer for the newly formed Manchester Microscopical Society c. 1880. Standing 12 inches (31 cm) tall, it initially came with every conceivable option of the day, including Abbe’s substage illuminator and a miniature, rotating turret of stackable objectives. Rarely used, with the only signs of wear being on the stage.
Now for the rest of the story. There had to have been another member with a Zeiss V(a or b) monocular to swap out parts. About this time, the Abbe’s illuminator was developed (1880) and Zeiss was boasting that along with IT and the new developments in lens technology, chromatic and spherical abberation were now a thing of the past. As further proof of my theory, look to the photos of what is missing from the case (sadly never replaced after the trial period). The set of 5/6 stops (slot just above the eyepieces) for the Abbe, the dove-tailed metal slot is NOT occupied with the 5-way articulating mirror ( now attached to microscope) and the empty slot for the simple, dove-tailed light reducing aperture (3 round stops intact).
So, simple scenario. Microscope delivered via Mr. Baker (retail label in lid) to J.B. Dancer (now retired and blind) and presented to the club. Another member wants to test the newest accessories and takes the Abbe’s (with simple mirror on sliding arm) from the substage of the microscope. In addition to the stops, he takes objective B and an eyepiece to attach to his Stand Va to keep all of the optics current/correct. Hence these are the accessories now missing. A large mechanical stage is left behind (fits perfectly but is not proportionate) and the articulating mirror and simple light reducing sleeve are installed in their place.
The microscope (now simplified) is in near perfect mechanical and optical condition with 98% original, golden lacquer. Coarse adjustment is by draw tube focusing and fine adjustment is by knurled wheel at the top of the pillar. The original stage clips are present, if the mechanical stage is not to be installed. There are three (3) objectives marked A, C, D and three eyepieces (originally 4 of each). The miniature turret of stacking objectives has the original blued centre screw and mounts to a square keeper for storage. The microscope also boasts the rare double prism camera lucida option. A round, fruit wood case contains round cover slips for slide preparation. The entire microscope plus accessories packs into a flame mahogany case of the finest quality and measures 13 x 8 x 4 inches deep with the original lock and key. No handle or case latches were ever with this cabinet. The interior is lined with maroon/burgundy felt at all contact points.
Thanks to Barry Sobel and Allan Wissner for the initial details from the Zeiss company records.
Ask the Dealer
Mark Hacking (Scientifica Opticae Inc.) has been an avid collector/dealer for over 30 years. A former Science teacher, he has an innate love for anything natural or mechanical. Specializing in optical (microscopes, telescopes), surveying, medical, weighing and drawing instruments, he is an active participant of the Scientific Instrument Fair in London. Living in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, with his wife and two children; Mark looks forward to meeting as many fellow collectors as possible, and has a worldwide following on eBay (Sciopti).
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