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Student/Travel microscope model V by Leitz (Wetzlar) 1895.

Parallel linkage student's microscope stand V by Leitz (Wetzlar), 1895.

Owing to its small dimensions, this can be considered a portable microscope, designed for field research as well as for students. The serial number (35730) dates it to c.a. 1895. It comes with two eyepieces, I and III and two objectives 3 and 7 (the latter in a small leather casket with velvet inner linings and engraved "E. Leitz, Wetzlar"), allowing magnifications from 57X to 480X. Thus, in spite of tis small dimensions, it is a capable instrument. It is identified in the Leitz's catalogue of 1894 as small microscope model V. It has a right-pillar design, so it cannot be inclined.

Excerpt from the American edition of Leitz's catalogue of 1894

A rotating wheel with holes of different sizes is mounted on the underside of the stage, allowing the regulation of the amount of light. A one-side concave mirror is mounted on the main pillar, on a pin that can be twisted or pushed/pulled, in order to adjust the position of the mirror for best illumination. Coarse focusing is attained by drawing the tube up and down, while fine focusing is operated by a micrometer screw on the milled head. This model is equipped with a parallel-linkage fine adjustment, which refers to the four parallel arms (two for each side) connecting the main pillar to the optical tube. The micrometer screw operates a fine adjustment of the inclination of the four arms, moving up and down the main tube, thus attaining the fine focusing. No condenser holder is present under the stage, since this microscope has not been designed to accept a condensing lens. Thus, in case of observations at high power with low light, an external bull's eye lens in front of a lamp should be used, as commonplace in that age. However, I was able to use the highest magnifications with ambient light (window) without the need of a condensing apparatus, thanks to the excellent quality of the optics.

The microscope comes with its original mahogany case.


Ernst Leitz Wetzlar

The Firm Ernst Leitz in Wetzlar, Germany began as an Optical Institute under the direction of Carl Kellner in 1849.  In 1855 Kellner died from Tuberculosis at the age of 29.  The Institute survived under the leadership of Friedrich Behltle, an apprentice of Kellner's who married his widow. In 1863 Ernst Leitz joined the institute and by 1865 was a full partner. Upon the death of Behltle, Leitz became the sole owner of the now renamed company, E Leitz, Wetzlar.  Leitz continued to manufacture quality microscopes and telescopes. By 1900 the Leitz firm had produced 50,000 microscopes. In 1907 the production of binoculars began. In 1913 Leitz introduced a revolutionary model of binocular microscope, based on a novel prismatic head designed by Leitz Jr. (his son). This design is basically still used today for binocular microscopes. By 1914 Leitz was one of the leading Microscope manufacturers in the world. In the 1990's the Leitz group merged with the Cambridge Instruments in the new brand Leica, which is still one of the world's top microscope manufacturers. For additional details on the Leitz firm, visit the Leica-microsystems website.



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