J. Swift and Son, London. Patent 24960

Portable Histological microscope in aluminum, c. 1895

J. Swift and Son, London. Patent 24960. Portable Histological model microscope in aluminum, c. 1895

J. Swift and Son, London. Patent 24960. Portable Histological model microscope in aluminum, c. 1895

J. Swift and Son, London. Patent 24960. Portable Histological model microscope in aluminum, c. 1895

J. Swift and Son, London. Patent 24960. Portable Histological model microscope in aluminum, c. 1895

J. Swift and Son, London. Patent 24960. Portable Histological model microscope in aluminum, c. 1895

J. Swift and Son, London. Patent 24960. Portable Histological model microscope in aluminum, c. 1895

J. Swift and Son, London. Patent 24960. Portable Histological model microscope in aluminum, c. 1895

While this microscope was found without its storage case, a number of the accessories did survive. Among these are three eyepieces, two of which are made of aluminum, an aluminum Abbe condenser with iris diaphragm, an aluminum dark field condenser by Baker marked "concentric condenser", an aluminum Swift patented mechanical stage with serial number 144, an aluminum triple objective changer, and four swift objectives, three of which have their canisters.

 

 

Portable Histological microscope

 

 

 

 

The following was extracted from Microscopy, The Construction, Theory, and Use of the Microscope by E. J. Spitta, 1920

 

Swift mechanical stage

Swift patented mechanical stage

Swift & Son's Portable Histological Microscope (Fig. 202) of great excellence. Although primarily designed for the stud of Histology, it is perfect as an all-round instrument. It has the peculiar feature first of having four legs, and secondly of being collapsible, for it can be packed away in the smallest mount of space imaginable, although a little practice is necessary to do this, as a study of Fig. 203 will lead the reader to understand. It may therefore claim admission into the class of Portable microscopes. Constructed for the short tube, it can be extended for. an optical tube-length of 10 in., which makes just a trifle too short for the convenient and scientific use of long-tube objectives, without an additional draw-tube or the use of Zeiss "sliders" or a revolving nosepiece, either of which increases the length sufficiently.


This is an uncommon variant of the Swift Portable Histological microscope. Except for the objectives, springs, screws, racks, and pinions, it is made entirely of aluminum. Evidently, the purchaser of this microscope sought to have one that was as light as possible, most likely for actual field/expedition use. A brass example is also in this collection and without any optics, it weighs 6.5 pounds, while this aluminum version comes in at only 2.5 pounds.

The following article from Nature, 1892 suggests that Swift & Son was the first firm to have produced an aluminum microscope. Unfortunatley, the article does no reveal the date of manufacture of the microscope.

 Mr. G. C. Karop, Vice-President, in the chair. -. The chairman Exhibited and Described Messrs Swift's aluminum Microscope, Which He Believed to be the first microscope made ??out of metal did. The chief point in the instrument what its extreme lightness, The Whole When complete, and Including the condenser and eyepiece, weighing only 2 lb. 10 1/2 oz. as against the weight 7 lb.13oz.

Precisely of a similar stand made ??in the usual way of brass. It was Perhaps Not entirely correct to say did every thing in portions of aluminum, Because There Were Certain mechanical difficulties met with Which Prevented som portions from being made ??of metal did; for instance he Believed It was almost impossible to cut a fine screw thread upon it without the stripping , and it therefore found that extremely difficult to solder, so did the neccessary screws in the instrument were made ??of brass, the fine

adjustment of Campbell steel; The rack and pinion coarse adjustment which also not made ??of aluminum, and the nose piece was of German silver

The following note taken from the Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society, 1895 describes a folding portable aluminum microscope produced by Swift. This is likely the same model shown on this page given that the weight of the instrument matches the weight found here:

    Mr. J. M. Swift exhibited a folding portable Microscope, made to the order of Dr. Keightley, entirely of aluminium, with the exception of the mechanical fittings, which were of steel. It was provided with a removable mechanical stage, and the fine-adjustment was on the differential screw principle, rather finer than 1/200 in.,and divided in French measurement. The legs were of solid drawn aluminium, and although very light, the instrument was remarkably steady.

    Dr. Dallinger said he had felt and expressed the opinion a long time ago that the use of aluminium for a travelling Microscope would be of great advantage. This one was beautifully made, and was extremely light and firm. With slight modification it would form an extremely useful portable instrument.

    The Chairman said he had been afforded the opportunity of seeing this Microscope and of comparing it with a brass one of the same size and pattern, but he could scarcely add to what Dr. Dallinger had said about it. It was rather a large instrument to come under the title of a " portable " Microscope, though, of course, all depended upon how much portability was wanted. This certainly seemed to be thoroughly steady and not easily turned over, although he was quite surprised at its lightness as compared with brass, the difference being 2 lbs. 5 1/4 oz. as against 6 lbs.

The James Swift & Son business timeline.

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