SILVER FINGER RING, French, c. second quarter 19th century, with a “poinçon” hallmark punch. The small 1/2″ (12 mm) long solid glass lens is mounted in a silver cell with a twisted wire handle forming a finger ring 1-1/2″ (3.8 cm) in overall height. It provides extremely high magnification at a short working distance, and is in fine condition throughout. The maker was likely the important Noël-Jean Lerebours, working in Paris with his son Noël-Marie (who in 1845 entered partnership with Marc Secretan). Lerebours held the titles of Optician to the Marine and Optician to the Bureau of Longitude, and was an important maker of instruments of astronomy, navigation, microscopy, etc. In an 1846 catalogue this magnifier, with its lens surfaces of differing curvature, is described by Lerebours as a “Stanhope microscope” to distinguish it from solid lenses with the same curvature front and back (e.g. “Brewster spheres, Coddington lenses, and bird’s eye lenses”).
Ask the Dealer
David and Yola Coffeen both have enjoyed academic careers, as planetary astronomer and as linguist/educator. But since 1982 (yes, 1982!) they have been full-time dealers in early scientific and medical instruments, under the name Tesseract. Selling primarily by catalogue (over 100 issued so far) they also have a web presence at www.etesseract.com, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.