Antique J.Swift & Son Advanced Brass Microscope


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Antique Microscope by J.Swift & Son

Circa 1880


Fine example of a high quality microscope in a fitted wooden case, complete with 2 eyepiece lenses and 2 objective lenses. The microscope is made of polished brass. The eyepiece tube is adjustable using a rack and pinion system and two small knobs. There are two interchangeable tubes, one short and one long, that can be used to extend it to quite some length. It has a rack and pinion main focus and a fine focus. 

The base of the microscope is also made of brass which has been painted / lacquered black. It is marked "J.SWIFT & SON. 81 TOTTENHAM COURT RD. LONDON". It tilts using a patented 'rocking' mechanism. 

It has a circular stage with adjustable aperture. There is a brass slide holder on the stage which is remotely adjustable using two knobs which finely move the slide up/down and left/right while viewing. 



Below the stage is a mirror for focusing the light at the specimen and an additional complex attachment. It has an adjustable aperture ring and many different lens / filter holders which spin to fit below the aperture.


It has two original brass objective lenses. The first is marked "3in. J.SWIFT & SON. LONDON.W." It comes with its original brass lens case, also marked '3 in'. The second lens is marked "2/3in. N.A.028. J.SWIFT & SON. LONDON." There are two brass eyepiece lenses of different strengths. 

The microscope has a swivelling double nosepiece as an additional attachment to allow both objective lenses to be fitted and alternated.

The microscope appears to be in good working order and I have set it up and tested it with a few old slides. I've included a photo down the microscope looking at Angiospermae Capsella using the 2/3" objective lens. I expect the lenses would probably benefit from a clean but they produce a clear and bright image all the same which focuses well.


The microscope comes in its original fitted mahogany case with sections for the lenses and accessories to fit in and a brass carrying handle. The case has a Broadhurst & Clarkson plaque which may have been the retailer of the microscope. The box is in good condition overall and displays well however the back piece of wood is split.


There are two further accessories which fit to the microscope. I am unsure exactly what they do but I have left them with the microscope. I am not sure if they work and are really being sold just as extras. One fits over the eyepiece lens and the other screws to the bottom of the microscope where the objective lenses fit. 


The microscope is very adjustable but it measures approximately 15" tall and it extends up to 18" tall with the longest tube attached. The eyepiece tube is approximately 1 1/4" in diameter and the circular stage is 3 1/2" in diameter. The box is approximately 14" high by 9" wide by 6" deep.


It is of considerable age and is in very good condition. It has been used and will have normal signs of wear so please don't expect it to be brand new. The lenses are undamaged and although in working order it is really being sold as a decorative / collectors item rather than an accurate scientific instrument. It has been lightly cleaned and the brass lightly polished and it displays very nicely. The box is sturdy and has a lovely aged patina and it comes with a working key and lock. 


The best description comes from the photos so please look at them all carefully and if you have any questions at all please ask.

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