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Benjamin Martin Solar Microscope

Prolific British instrument designer Benjamin Martin made a wide variety of microscopes including the solar microscope illustrated below. This microscope is described and illustrated in a short treatise entitled Microscopes to the End of the Nineteenth Century by F. W. Palmer and A. B. Sahiar.

The microscope is designed to fit into an opening in a window shutter and is used to project a large image on a screen, enabling several investigators to simultaneously examine specimens at high magnification. Sunlight is employed to illuminate the specimen and provide image-forming light rays. The base of the microscope contains a large mirror (to reflect sunlight into the microscope), which can be adjusted for tilt and rotation to optimize illumination. The body tube is constructed of cardboard covered with green shark-skin and contains a condenser lens at the base. A brass drawtube contains a Wilson-style microscope depicted here with a specimen slide fitted into the spring stage. A metal slider containing three objectives fits over the eyepiece to enable the microscopist to change magnification. Focus is achieved with a rack and pinion controlled by a knurled knob.


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