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T.H. McAllister chain focus microscope

The compound microscope is marked on the tube, "T.H. McALLISTER NY". This is McAllister's "Student" stand. Minimum height is 12". The brass body tube is fitted with a drawtube and nose cone. The base, stage and limb are made of bronzed iron. Fine focus is by a micrometer screw tilting stage and coarse focus by watch chain - a mechanism unique to McAllister in America, but previously introduced by Wm. Ladd, in England. The two-sided gimballed mirror can slide up and down its pivoting arm. A substage aperture wheel is mounted on a cylinder which can hold accessories such as a condenser or prism (not included). The two objectives are 1 inch and 1/4 inch, with standard "Society" threads. The objectives are stored on a bracket on the box door with matching brass screw caps. McAllister didn't make his own lenses and describes these in his catalog as "good achromatic French objectives". The chain is intact and focusses smoothly, except when the tube is run all the way down for storage. It then slips. This is the first example I have had with the chain not broken or missing. The rather fancy walnut case has a paneled door with lock and key and shaped edges at the top and bottom. The slide tray is filled (20 slides) with amateur slides, mostly of botonical specimens, all with identical pink paper. The original adjustable, telescoping bullseye stand is present, but without its lens. The original lacquer is 95% present, with some large blemishes on the drawtube. The mirror silvering is fine on both sides.

Thomas H. McAllister, one of America's first microscope makers, introduced the little "Household Microscope" in 1867. His catalogs in the 1870's describe this larger "student microscope" as well as the "Professional" and the "Physician's" (1879). All three of the larger instruments had a unique fusee chain coarse focus described as "a chronometer chain movment".

the walnut case and accessories

closeup showing micrometer tilting stage fine focus

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Contact: Richard Van Vleck - Email: richard@americanartifacts.com

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