Brunner Ó Paris, 34 Rue des Bernardins

Gruby Type Pocket Microscope, c. 1842

(microscope de poche)

Brunner Ó Paris, 34 Rue des Bernardins. Gruby TypeáPocket Microscope, c. 1844

Brunner Ó Paris, 34 Rue des Bernardins. Gruby TypeáPocket Microscope, c. 1844

Brunner Ó Paris, 34 Rue des Bernardins. Gruby TypeáPocket Microscope, c. 1844

Brunner Ó Paris, 34 Rue des Bernardins. Gruby TypeáPocket Microscope, c. 1844

Brunner Ó Paris, 34 Rue des Bernardins. Gruby TypeáPocket Microscope, c. 1844. Pack in its case.

Brunner Ó Paris, 34 Rue des Bernardins. Gruby TypeáPocket Microscope, c. 1844. Showing the substage and stage titlting mechanism.

Jean Brunner (1804-1862) was a Swiss born scientific instrument maker who studied first in Vienna and then in Paris under Vincent Chevalier. In the 1830's, he established his own workshop in Paris located at 34 rue des Bernardins where he produced a variety of different types of scientific instruments including microscopes. In 1845, he moved his workshop to 183 rue de Vaugirard. On the basis of the address engraved on the tube of this microscope, the microscope must have been produce prior to this change of address. His sons Emile 1834-1895 and Leon 1840-1894, continued the business as Brunner Freres until 1895.

This pocket microscope bears a number of features in common with a similar microscope produced by Brunner based on a design furnish by the physician and microscopist David Gruby (1810-1898). The Gruby design was first described in 1846 in a publication entitled Description of a new microscope, for the use of medical practitioners at the bed-side. A later description and illustrations of this microscope, extracted from Clinical Lectures on the Principles and Practice of Medicine by John Hughes Bennett 5 ed. 1868, is reproduced below:

"A medical man is often called upon to verify facts in various places; at his own house, at an hospital, at the bed-side of his patient, or at a private post-mortem examination. It is under such circumstances that the value of portability is recognised. The large London instruments require an equipage or a porter to transport them from place to place; even the putting them in and out the large boxes or cabinets that are built around them, is a matter of labour. In short, notwithstanding the splendour of the screws, the glittering of the bras, and the fine workmanship, there can be little doubt that, on the whole, they are very clumsy affairs.

There are many occasions on which a medical man may find it useful to carry a microscope with him, especially in the case of post-mortem examinations. Many attempts have been made to construct a pocket microscope; and for the purposes above alluded to, I myself caused one to be made some years ago, which, with its case, resembled a small pocket telescope. Dr. Gruby of Paris, however, has planned the most ingenious instrument of this kind, which poseses most of the properties we have enumerated, and will be found very useful for those accustomed to microscopic manipulation. It is contained in a case, the size of an ordinary snuff-box, and poseses all the conveniences of the larger instruments, with various lenses, a micrometer, slips of glas, needle, knife, and forceps, in that small compas. Figures 47 and 48, representing the instrument, exactly one-half the real size, will give an idea of this ingenious microscope, manufactured by the late M. Brunner of Paris. For a more minute description of it, I must refer you to the "Monthly Journal of Medical Science" for December 1846. Equally commodious pocket microscopes, but on a somewhat different model, are now made by Nachet."

Gruby pocke microscope

Gruby pocke microscope

Overall, the microscope shown on this page shows some similarities to the Gruby designed instrument described above, particularly with respect to the folding stage. It differs primarily with respect to the focusing mechanisms. Unlike the microscope described in the above article, this microscope has a main focus by rack and pinion and a secondary fine focusing adjustment that moves the stage. Whether Dr. Gruby had input into the design of this microscope is, at this time, unknown. Thus, it is not clear if this instrument is a forerunner or successor to the Gruby's microscope; most likely it is the former. While the precise date of manufacture of this instrument is unclear, on the basis of the address engraved upon it, it was made before 1845. We have not been able to locate another example of this microscope. The microscope box measures just 11 x 8.5 x 4.5 cm with the parts stored compactly within.

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