J.Swift & Son Portable Histological Microscope

J.Swift & Son Portable Histological Microscope


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J.Swift and Son Portable Histological Microscope

with Mechanical Stage

Circa 1897


Fine example of a high quality 19th Century microscope in a fitted wooden case, complete with 2 eyepiece lenses and an objective lense. The microscope parts are made of brass. The eypiece tube is extendable and focuses using a rack and pinion system with two brass knobs either side of the tube. It also has a fine focus knob with a round dial at the back of the microscope.


It has a square horse-shoe shaped stage with a fully adjustable Swift & Son Patented Mechanical Stage.


Below the stage is a large adjustable mirror for focusing the light source towards the microscope. There is also an adjustable aperture ring to control how much light gets through. There is also a further piece of equipment which holds filters (the microscope comes with a blue lens filter and a black cut out filter). The whole sub-stage moves up and down by a rack and pinion system and a brass knob below the stage. 


The whole microscope tilts backwards from an upright position for ease of use. It also folds away into its box in a way I have never seen before. The back part of the base swivels and folds in on itself to compact the microscope into a small square size, fitting perfectly and snugly into the fitted box. 


It is labelled on the back of the base with the makers name ; "J.Swift & Son. London. W. Patent 24960". 


The microscope has a single objective lens which is a 'Swift & Son 40o 1in London' and it comes with its original corresponding brass lens holder. 

The microscope comes with 2 eyepiece lenses. The first is a "Compens-Ocular" number 10 and the second is Ross of London"Kelner's Orthoscopic" lens.


The microscope appears to be in good working order and I have set it up and tested it with a few old slides. The pictures are clear and crisp and the microscope is easy to focus with both the main and fine focus. The microscope is far from new so please don't expect the optics to be like a new microscope, I'm sure the lenses would probably benefit from a light clean. I have included a picture showing a slide viewed though the microscope.


It comes in its original fitted mahogany case with sections for the eyepiece and objective lenses. There is also a section for holding 4 slides. It is a good quality box with a lovely brass and wood carrying handle. It comes with its original working key however there is some slight damage to the box in the way of a split in the front panel. There are other small scuffs and signs of age but nothing major. 


The microscope measures approximately 13" tall when not extended. The box is 12" high X 7"deep X 6" wide.


What makes this microscope particularly nice is it has a little bit of history with it. It comes with 4 slides showing various parts of fish and their stomachs and it comes with a hand written letter dated 1922 which is diagnosing and discussing fish spawning and fish health. The previous owner must have been a biologist who dealt with fish specimens. The slides and letter are included with the microscope. 


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


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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