Quekett’s 1848 Recomendation

Quekett’s 1848 Recomendation

Stock Number: 9109 and 9119 (sold separately)

$395 and $240 (sold separately)

For sale, two bell jars, one from the 19th century and hand-blown, the other a Pyrex 20th century one. These are ideal for displaying an early microscope and protecting it, as Quekett advised.


15-1/2 inches (39 cm) and 17 inches (43 cm)


c. 19th century and third quarter 20th century

Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Category: Microscopy


” a firm table is required for placing the microscope on, and in order that the latter may be at all times ready for use, it should be covered over either with a glass or other shade when not employed; many valuable observations will be lost if the labour of packing and unpacking of the instrument and apparatus have to be frequently repeated. A glass shade, especially a stout one of the old make, with a knob at the top, will be found to keep off the dust as effectually as any well constructed box or case…. In the winter, when fires are in use, it will be necessary to be careful to cover over any preparations that are about to be dried before being mounted, as small particles of carbon are continually being deposited in all situations….” (Quekett, 1848) 

(left) LARGE HAND-BLOWN BELL JAR, 19th century. With an overall height of 15-1/2″ (39 cm), and interior dimensions of 13-1/2″ high (34 cm) and 7-1/2″ (19 cm) diameter, this glass bell jar makes a perfect display cover for a 19th century microscope outfit. In excellent condition, the hand-blown bell jar has bubbles and striations, with a fine square-shouldered shape, a clear base rim, and knob with ground pontil top. 

(right) LARGE PYREX BELL JAR, American, c. third quarter 20th century, signed “Pyrex ®, USA.” Again ideally suited for displaying and protecting an early microscope, the bell jar stands 17″ (43 cm) overall, with maximum internal height of 14-5/8″ and internal diameter 8-1/4″ (37 and 21 cm). Apparently hand blown (noting striations and inclusions), it is composed of four joined components: cylindrical body, domed top, finely shaped handle, and ring flange with ground bottom. We note that basically the same bell jar is available today, brand new, from laboratory equipment companies, at retail prices several times ours. Excellent condition.

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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 [email protected].

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