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2606 Granby Street
Norfolk, VA 23517

Traveling field microscope in wood box with glass slides, c.1850s


Brass field or travel microscope in wood box with three glass slides. Paper label in the box with name of the distributor, Antoin Santi, an optician and scientist on Rue Canebière, 30, in Marseille, France. Most likely made between the 1840s and 1860s. Brass tube with a black enameled metal base. The free-moving lens attached to the front.

Three glass slides. Slides are labeled in French: "Charanson Impèriale / Gigantea," "Jeune Chenille Bambix," and "Ongles D'Araignée" ("Imperial Weevil / Large," "Young Caterpillar Bambix," and "Nails of a Spider"). It appears that this microscope may have been owned by an entomologist.

Monsieur Santi won honorable mention in the contest of a scientific association (the Society for Statistics of Marseille) in 1840 for developing a thermometer for measuring the rate of fermentation in fertilizer as well as for developing a forcing pump for manometers (We have one in The Curio...).

The origins of microscopy is in fabric. Van Leeuwenhoek, a draper in Amsterdam, is credited with the discovery of the microscope and microbes, and he was first interested in using lenses to examine thread more closely.

Microscope is in good condition. Some scratches and oxidation on the surface of the brass, but there does not seem to be much other damage. Knob still moves the lenses smoothly up and down. One tab to keep the slides in place is missing. Lenses and mirrors, to our untrained eye, appear to be fairly free of scratches and are not cracked or chipped. Wood support in the box is loose but still supports the microscope in the case. Box is a perfect fit, and it may take some measure of care to remove and replace the microscope in the box. Box measures 8 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches. Microscope, slides, and box weigh 2 lbs 5 oz.


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