James Swift & Son, University St. London

Blankley's Small Pocket Microscope - The Seaside Microscope, c. 1879

James Swift & Son, University St. London. Blankley's Small Pocket Microscope - The Seaside Microscope, c. 1879

James Swift & Son, University St. London. Blankley's Small Pocket Microscope - The Seaside Microscope, c. 1879

James Swift & Son, University St. London. Blankley's Small Pocket Microscope - The Seaside Microscope, c. 1879

James Swift & Son, University St. London. Blankley's Small Pocket Microscope - The Seaside Microscope, c. 1879

James Swift & Son, University St. London. Blankley's Small Pocket Microscope - The Seaside Microscope, c. 1879

James Swift & Son, University St. London. Blankley's Small Pocket Microscope - The Seaside Microscope, c. 1879

James Swift & Son, University St. London. Blankley's Small Pocket Microscope - The Seaside Microscope, c. 1879

James Swift & Son, University St. London. Blankley's Small Pocket Microscope - The Seaside Microscope, c. 1879

James Swift & Son, University St. London. Blankley's Small Pocket Microscope - The Seaside Microscope, c. 1879 . With accessories

Swift & Son, University St, London W.C. with the Swift bird trade mark

The microscope is signed on the stage Swift & Son, University St, London W.C. with the Swift bird trade mark. The firm had this name and address during the years 1877-1881. In the 1870 Swift catalog, this microscope was referred to Blankley's Small Pocket Microscope. In the book "The Microscope" by H. Van Heurck, 1893, the microscope is referred to as the Seaside Microscope; it is described and illustrated there as follows:

James Swift & Son, University St. London. Blankley's Small Pocket Microscope - The Seaside Microscope

"The Seaside Microscope has still to be noticed. This microscope, as its name suggests, is made with the object of occupying the smallest possible space. It is furnished with a folding stage, rapid movement by sliding the tube, slow movement enclosed in the leg of the tripod, upon which the instrument stands, an ocular, and an inch objective (figs. 156 and 157). It can be packed in a box 15 centimetres (6 in.) long, 7 centimetres (3 3/4 in.) wide, and 5 centimetres (1 3/4 in.) deep. The price of this microscope is 3 10s."

This particular example is furnished with some additional accessories, among which are two objectives, a live box, a sub-stage fitting that can accommodate a dark-field condenser or a filter holder (3 different glass filters are present), a bulls-eye condenser, a slide carrier, and an auxiliary tripod base for use when the microscope is in the vertical position. The leather covered case has dimensions 7.5 x 3.25 x 2 inches. Charles Baker (and here) and John Browning sold a similar small portable microscope. A modified version of this microscope was sold by Swift well into the the 20th century. This microscope is described in detail in The Lancet pg 764, 1872.


Swift seaside and clinical pocke microscope


This microscope was acquired for this collection from the village of Napier located about 125 miles south east of Cape Town South Africa. See this short essay on seaside microscopy

The James Swift & Son business timeline.

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