French Drum Microscope with rack and pinion focusing, c.1850
The microscope of the Scottish naturalist, geologist, and archaeologist George Tate (1805-1871)
The microscope is unsigned, but is typically of French manufacture. It focuses by push tube and by a rack and pinion movement of the limb.
On the inside lid of the wood case, it is written in ink "George Tate, Alnwick" with the date 1851. George Tate (1805-1871) was an accomplished Scottish naturalist, geologist, and archaeologist.
The Obituary of George Tate (1805-1871)
We regret to record the death of George Tate, Esq., F.G.S., of Alnwick, Hon. Secretary of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club, who died on Wednesday, the 7th of June, 1871, aged 66 years., George Tate was born in 1805 at Alnwick. More than forty years since he became connected with the Mechanics' Institution of his native town, and for upwards of thirty years he filled the post of Hon. Secretary. During that long period the Institution enjoyed a course of uninterrupted and increasing prosperity, and to him more than to any single individual is it owing that it has been the means of conferring such incalculable benefit on the town.
He was thoroughly imbued with the enlightened and progressive spirit of the age, and always held broad and liberal views on the great questions of the day, and as a member of the Common Council, and other public bodies in Alnwick, he never failed to take an honourable, active, and distinguished part in the affairs of the town.
Penetrated with an ardent love of the sciences, he made Geology his particular study, and became the expositor of the geological structure of the Border-country. With equal ardour he gave his mind to Archaeology. His learned and interesting treatise on the "Ancient British Sculptured. Rocks of Northumberland and the Eastern Borders," and the excellent papers on Geology and Archaeology which he has contributed to the "Transactions of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club," in which society he held the post of Hon. Secretary, must be well known to many of our readers.
But it is as the historian of his native town that he has achieved his chief claim to distinction. The "History of the Borough, Castle, and Barony of Alnwick," the fruit of many years of study and preparation, was completed in 1869, in commemoration of which he was presented with an address, a silver tea and coffee service, and a purse containing 100 guineas, by his fellow-townsmen, aided by many gentlemen connected with the district, and who might be regarded as the representatives of the science of the Border-counties, and also by some few men of high eminence in other parts of the country.
No candid critic will deny the right of this work to take rank amongst the best local histories extant, and as a standard authority that must be resorted to on all subsequent occasions. It is characterized by vast research, conscientious labour, and a sound critical judgment in the weighing of facts and evidence. Its greatest merit is the nobility and independence of soul which is displayed throughout.
Mr. Tate was not only remarkable for versatility of mind, but was gifted with great powers of oratory, and as a lecturer few men were his equal. A man without ambition, happy in public esteem, and imbued with a love for his own native district, having no claim upon it for rank, wealth, or power, he was content to live in it all his life, and to devote himself to the illustration of its history.
In appreciation of his eminent literary and scientific attainments, several learned societies had accorded to him the honorary distinction of Corresponding Member. He joined the Geological Society of London in 1843.
A similar drum microscope with the same unique focusing mechanism has been observed having the signature: Maison Chevallier, Queslin Ingr Opticien.
Another similar microscope is illustrated in the 1859 catalog entitled: J. Molteni & Cie Constructeurs de Machines et Instruments de Precision as shown below:
Home Page-Antique Microscopes Site Index