This microscope dates
from 1890's and is among the last microscopes
produced by the firm. The microscope is
signed on the back of the limb: "J. Grunow, New York"
and marked on the tube "Roosevelt Memorial".
Uncharacteristically for a Grunow microscope, the
serial number is absent (although it is stamped #11
on the back of the stage). I have observed a number
of other Grunow microscopes with a similar cast iron
base. One having the "Roosevelt Memorial" marking
(serial number 1052 and stamped #14 on the back of
the stage), another identical to the one on this page
marked "Roosevelt Memorial" with no serial number and
stamped #8 on the back, and an additional instrument
marked "Roosevelt Hospital" (serial number 1043 and
stamped #35 on the back of the stage). Finally,
another with serial number 1081 without any other
attributions. It is not clear which Memorial/Hospital
is referred to on these instruments since there are
various institutions with this type of name located
in different cities.
The high serial numbers
on these microscopes suggest that they are among the
last produced by the firm. It has been stated that
the Grunow firm terminated around 1892 (D. Padgitt,
A Short History of the Early American
Microscopes, 1975). Since Theodore Roosevelt
died in 1919, it would seem unlikely that the "Roosevelt Memorial"
marking refers to him. Clearly, there is a mystery here.
"Roosevelt Hospital" referred to on one of these
microscopes might indicate the hospital by that name
founded in 1871 by James H. Roosevelt in New York
City (also see this). However, there
seems to be few indications that this hospital was
ever referred to as "Roosevelt Memorial".
The Grunow brothers,
Julius and William, emigrated from Germany to New
York around 1849. They started in the scientific
instrument business by first working for the optician
Benjamin Pike of that city. By 1854, they began their
own operation in New Haven CT where they concentrated
on the production of microscopes. By 1864, they were
back in New York. Some years later, the partnership
ended. J. Grunow continued on to produce microscopes
up to around 1892. The total output of the Grunows
was limited in comparison to some other contemporary
firms; on the basis of the observed serial numbers,
they manufactured just over one thousand microscopes
in total. See: a
family history of the Grunows in 19th century America
written by a descendant.