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Universal Compound Microscope

Rare Universal Compound Microscope, c. 1845-1855

Signed: I Cerf Passage st. Hubert Bruxelles

Case: 39,5 x 30 x 11,5 cm

This type of instrument belongs to the category of the horizontal microscopes, among which can be numbered examples designed by Amici for Italy and Chevalier for France. Other designers followed the same example such as Molteni in Paris, Spencer in the United States. In some other cases, resellers asked to design the instrument on their behalf and have it stamped with their own name.

Brussels, St. Hubert's gallery This is certainly our case, as we currently do not have any information about a designer under this name. Furthermore, the works of St. Hubert Gallery, located in Brussels near Grand Place, started in 1846 when Leopold I laid the first brick. The Gallery has been officially opened on 20 June 1847. It is divided in two main sections called Galerie du Roi and Galerie de la Reine. A third section, smaller than the previous ones, was named Galerie du Prince. During the 19th century St. Hubert Gallery was the centre of the society life, and also nowadays continues to attract visitors thanks to its luxury shops and coffee shops. We can therefore presume that the shop of the reseller was in the same central area of the city.

Bononiae Microscope - Universal microscope in its caseThis microscope is similar to the Universal model designed by Chevalier, but some details of construction show that it was made by a different artisan. The big case, that measures 39,5 x 30 x 11,5 cm, is made of mahogany and, apart from being resistant, it guaranteed a higher protection against environmental conditions.
The instrument is stored in a single extractable drawer, with lock and key still working; on the right side there is a space where all accessories are and there is also a small removable plateau.

On the top of the case there is a square buckle made of brass with a bayonet joint, and held in place by four screws. The microscope measures cm 26 in horizontal position and cm 42 in vertical position. The brass mirror housing is black and is 8 cm in diameter with knurled rims; the large concave mirror is 6,2 cm in diameter, the flat mirror is smaller (cm 4,3 in diameter). The brass stage measures 6 x 8 cm, has two clips and an U shape; the distance between the two arms is of 2 cm and is 6 cm deep. They both slide upon the same square vertical bar, which, on one side brings the rack that allows the movement with the relative brass knurled rims. At the base of the main column of the microscope there is a hole, which allows a brass-headed steel pin to block the bar.

Focusing is achieved with a milled knob inserted in the stage, which is extractable and can be put upside-down when used in a different configuration. The main column of the microscope is topped with a compass joint, which is connected to an arm that holds the rack bar and the optical tube. This arm, which has the possibility to rotate, gives several configurations to the microscope: horizontal, traditional, simple, inverted.

Bononiae Microscope - Universal microscope in horizontal configurationBononiae Microscope - Universal microscope, traditional configurationIn the horizontal configuration, a small arm supports the tube and is mantained alined with the main arm by a pin; it is then fixed with a lateral brass-headed steel pin. The nosepiece can be detached by loosening two lateral screws.
Inserting the sliding optical tube, the set up changes to the traditional configuration.
There is also a nosepiece for use when the microscope is set up as a simple microscope. This asset includes a heavy square brass base (7,7 kg.) measuring 9 x 9 cm, 1,5 cm thick and has a 1,6 cm hole for the bayonet joint.
Apart from all these different configurations, there is also the possibility to invert it, so that observations, such as chemical or others can be done by rotating the column of 180°. The mirrors are now positioned above the small table and the optical tube below it.

Bononiae Microscope - Universal microscope in simple configurationThe optical equipment of the instrument consists of 3 objectives of different focal Bononiae Microscope - Universal microscope, inverted configurationlengths and 4 eyepieces, one of which is marked "I Cerf Passage st. Hubert Bruxelles". The accessories include a black bakelite cap measuring 5 cm. in diameter, an aluminium circular base for concave glass containers, a small red case containing square glass slides, a small round case labelled " Pilules selon la formule - La (...) Pharmacien rue de (...) 163 Belleville", two glass tubes, and two small glass tubes with an aluminium case marked L H M. The condenser has a prism mounted on a circular half-ring, the base is made of brass and is cm 8 in diameter, cm1 in thickness and has a screwable bar cm 23 long.


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