Maker's Name: 
circa 1825
12 × 8 × 2 cm

This item has been returned to its owner and is no longer on display.

This is an example of a Universal Single Lens Pocket Microscope. This object was probably created in the early 1800s and strongly resembles the Pocket Microscope made by Benjamin Pike Junior in New York. Similar to the Midgard Pocket Microscope, this microscope has a single, simple lens and was used to examine botanical and zoological specimens. However it is more advanced and easier to use because unlike the Midgard, which needed to be held up to the light by hand, this microscope is built around a stand that is fixed to a wooden case.

The single lens sits in an eyepiece that is mounted on the top of a metal pillar. This lens is a replacement lens that is similar to the original and has a magnification of 10x. Below the eyepiece is a circular stage. The focus of the lens is adjusted by moving the eyepiece closer or further away from the specimen. The microscope in the case comes with three mica slides that are set in a flat piece of ivory. This ivory tab can be slid into the stage and held so that the viewer can view the samples one by one. This particular set of slides contains pre-made samples, one of which is cork. Other slides could be prepared and inserted into this stage if the user wanted. The Pike Pocket Microscopes were sold with welled slides for aquatic samples as well as an insect box. A small needle is included with this microscope. It can be attached to the stage so that bulky specimens can be held and moved around.

While the Midgard microscope needed to be held up to a light source, this pocket microscope uses a small adjustable mirror to reflect light up through the stage. A bright light source could be directed onto the mirror while the microscope was sitting on a desk, thus increasing the stability and ease of use. Even though this microscope is larger than the Midgard it is still portable. The pillar can be unscrewed from the base and the entire microscope disassembles and can be packed away in its wooden travel case along with its accessories and extra slides.

Pocket Microscopes like this were widely used by botanists and explorers, such as Robert Brown, the discoverer of Brownian motion, and botanist on the Investigator with Matthew Flinders.

This item is part of the UQ Physics Museum Microscopes Tour
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