Obituary of Walter H.
Bulloch (1835-1891) as published in the American
Monthly Microscopical Journal, 1892
Notice of Walter H.
By HENRY L.
The death of this eminent
Chicago microscope maker is a severe loss, not only to
the Illinois State Society.of which lie was for nearly
twenty years n prominent member, but to the cause of
science at large. He was born in I835, at Glasgow.
Scotland, and lived there until he was seventeen years
of age. About 1852 the family emigrated to New York,
where Walter learned the trade of tailor with his
father. But his innate fondness for mechanical pursuits
made him dissatisfied with his prospects, and he was
apprenticed to Messrs. Pike & Sons, then a leading
firm of opticians and instrument makers on Broadway.
New York city. After serving his time he went into
business until the war of the rebellion broke out, when
he enlisted as a private in the 12th N. Y. volunteers.
His term of service, however, was very short, as he
contracted a severe cold, which developed into
rheumatism, and he was incapacitated from further work,
and was mustered out of service. Returning to New York
he formed a partnership with William Wales, the
well-known maker of objectives, and continued in
business there until 1866, when he moved to Chicago. He
was very successful and had accumulated considerable
means, when his shop and tools were destroyed in the
memorable Chicago fire of Oct. 8 and 9, 1871. And Mr.
Bulloch sustained a financial loss from which he never
recovered. Immediately after this misfortune, he went
to Boston and was for a time connected with the late R.
B. Tolles, but again returned to establish himself in
Chicago. In 1889 he accepted a position connected with
the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in the Bureau of
Weights and Measures, at Washington, but he chafed
under the restraints of an official situation, and
after six months experience, returned to his home here.
Before he left his health had begun to fail, and after
his return late in the fall of 1S90. lie suffered still
more. But his indomitable perseverance led him to
struggle on. He opened a place at No. 303 Dearborn
street, in a very advantageous business portion of the
city, and began work again. It was not for long. After
struggling with disease for about six months he was
compelled to slop forever. He died Nov. 5. 1891. at
Elgin III., where he had gone for treatment by Dr. IP.
Tyrrell. He leaves a wife but no children.
Mr. Bulloch was a man of
pronounced character and indomitable energy and
perseverance. To those who did not know him well he
appeared brusque and sometimes even overbearing. but
his numerous friends soon learned to appreciate his
straightforward manner of expressing his views, his
pertinacious but just demands for a proper recognition
of his rights, and his outspoken criticism of what he
deemed erroneous in the theories or opinions of others.
In his business he was conscientious and painstaking to
a fault. Often when making an instrument or piece of
apparatus to order if he saw where time was room for
improvement he would spend hours or days in
experiments, perhaps wasting the results of all his
previous labor, refusing to slight his work at any
cost. Whether it was the simplest accessory or the
finest microscope stand, nothing was allowed to leave
his shop until it was as perfect as his trained hands
could make it. His reputation was more than money, and
he lived to see it world-wide. Besides being a member
of the Illinois State Microscopical Society, he was a
member of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, the American
Academy of Sciences, the American Society of
Microscopists. and of the Royal Microscopical Society
of London. His death leaves a gap in the rank of
scientific workers which can not easily filled.
As of 2014, the highest
known serial number for a Bulloch microscope was 675
suggesting that his output was much less than that of
many other contemporary makers. At about the time this
microscope was offered by Bulloch, several other very
similar models were being sold in America, among which
were the Zentmayer
United States Army Hospital Model, the
Queen Student Model, and the
Beck National Model.
This microscope was purchased for
this collection from a descendant of the original owner,
Dr. Thomas Noonan Miller M.D. (1849-1930). The receipt,
dated Oct. 16, 1876, indicates it was sold directly to
him. What follows is the content of a note that his
great-granddaughter sent along with the
Miller was born August 24, 1849, in Oneida
County, New York. He died on January 14, 1930,
age 81, of pneumonia, sitting in his chair at
1304 W. State Street, Rockford, Illinois. His
wife, Arvilla Augusta Lane Miller, had hired a
nurse to take care of him, but he wouldn't go to
bed - said "pneumonia was an old man's
graduated from Beloit College in Wisconsin with a
B.A. degree in 1872. He received his M.D. degree
from Chicago Medical College (later Northwestern
University Medical School) in 1880. It was
unusual for a physician to have a college degree
before attending medical school or being
apprenticed to a practicing physician. He was a
great reader and always had a library card. He
walked or rode his bike to the library from his
home at 1304 W. State St. in
From the family
archives of his descendants.