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Klönne & Müller Arbeitsmikroskop für Apotheker (1880's)

Klönne & Müller "working microscope for pharmacists" model, Berlin (1880's)


This is a third-class instrument designed for routine work in pharmacy and chemistry as clearly indicated by the manufacturers' advertisement of this model as a "working microscope for pharmacists". It is rather small and compact and bears a plaque carrying the makers' names on the iron horseshoe base. It has a typical continental stand, but one peculiarity is that the joint for inclining the main pillar is located not in mid position under the stage as usual, but at the bottom of the pillar, close to the base.



Detail of the horseshoe foot of the microscope showing the makers' plaque and the inclination joint.


The double-sided plano-concave mirror is positioned on a movable joint, allowing its inclination on the left or right sides for easier oblique illumination. A pinholes rotating wheel diaphragm is fixed under the stage. It has the typical draw tube coarse focusing of the continental stands, while fine focusing is attained by a micrometric screw. The microscope retains most of its original lacquer and comes with its original mahogany case, one unmarked ocular (estimated to be 4x) and one unmarked objective (estimated to be of 1/2 inch focal length), allowing low magnifications. Both the thread of the objective and the diameter of the ocular are smaller than the standard sizes, thus it is not easy to find any refurbishment for this instrument. The microscope is in very good conditions, both optically and mechanically and delivers very clear images.

This instrument came to me as a gift from the collection of Prof. Yuval Goren, Tel-Aviv University.

This particular model is illustrated in two German books edited in 1882 by Dr. Leopold Dippel, professor of botany in Darmstadt: "Handbuch der Allgemeinen Mikroskopie" (Handbook of general microscopy) and "Das Mikroskop und seine Anwendung" (The microscope and its applications).


Frontispiece of the book by L. Dippel "Handbook of General Microscopy" of 1882 and internal image of the working microscope for pharmacists (on the right).

Frontispiece of the book by L. Dippel "The microscope and its applications" of 1882 and internal image of the working microscope for pharmacists (on the right).

This model was very similar to the "Studentenmikroskop" illustrated in the book "Unsere Modernen Mikroskope" (Our modern microscopes) of 1883 by Otto Bachmann, with the difference that the stand could not be inclined.


Frontispiece of the book "Our modern microscopes" by O. Bachmann (1883) and internal picture of the Klönne & Müller students' microscope.

Klönne & Müller

J. Klönne & G. Müller were selling scientific instruments and accessories in Berlin since the early 1870's up to the beginning of the XX century. While they were not so commonly mentioned in English microscopy texts, they were highly regarded by German microscopists and scientists, as testified by the several mentions of their firm in German books and magazines. For example, their microscopes were recommended in the Entomologische Zeitschrift of Aug. 15th 1888.

An extract from the "Entomology Magazine" of Aug. 15th 1888, recommending the microscopes by Klönne & Müller for the observation of entomological preparations (highlighted in blue).

Also, many advertisements can be found in German magazines of the 1880-90's, showing that the firm was providing a whole range of instruments for different applications.


Advertisements from German magazines of 1884 (left) and 1896 (right) of Klönne & Müller intruments

Advertisements from a German magazine of 1907 of Klönne & Müller intruments

Klönne & Müller were also providing microscope slides. One advertisment mentioned them as the retailers of the blood preparations made by the famous scientist Paul Ehrlich and Ehrlich himself quotes the firm in his book "Normal and Pathological Histology of the Blood"of 1909 as his personal providers of accessories.


Two slides from Klönne & Müller (B. anthracis and Quercus spp. cortex; images from internet auction shown for illustrative purposes only) and their advertisement from the "Weekly natural science magazine - Naturwissenschaftliche Wochenschrift" of 1890 as retailers for the blood preparations by Paul Ehrlich (highlighted).

Apparently, Klönne & Müller were also working as editors, publishing technical books such as the "Microscopical analysis of meat", a manual for food quality inspection, edited in 1878.

Frontispiece of the "Mikroskopischen Fleishschau" manual edited by Klönne & Müller in 1878.

The firm was credited for having first introduced in 1880 a special kind of demonstration microscope, with a rotating stage capable of allocating up to 8 slides. However, as reported in a 1890 issue the Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society, such attribution was wrong. The original design was presented at the Paris exhibition in 1878 by the French firm Mirand & F.ls, who then claimed the priority.


The Klönne & Müller's Demonstrations-Mikroskop model. From the book "Our modern microscopes" by O. Bachmann (1883)

According to one of their advertisements, Klönne & Müller instruments were used by some eminent scientists of the time. In particular specific mention is made of Prof. Otto von Schrön, a German microscopist who moved to Italy, first in Turin and then in Naples, where he became professor of anatomy and histology in 1864. He made seminal observations and was also actively involved in microbiological studies of the phthisis, cholera and typhoid fever agents. In his late years, he became popular to the public for his theories on the "biology of crystals". Otto von Schrön was a personal acquaintance of the composer Richard Wagner and very well known among scientists of his time.


Advertisement by Klönne & Müller of 1883 quoting O. von Schrön among their customers (highlighted).

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