Smith, Beck & Beck, 31 Cornhill, London, #4375

The Large Best model binocular microscope. c.1866

Smith, Beck & Beck, 31 Cornhill, London, #4375. The Large Best model binocular microscope. c.1866 Smith, Beck & Beck, 31 Cornhill, London, #4375. The Large Best model binocular microscope. c.1866
Smith, Beck & Beck, 31 Cornhill, London, #4375. The Large Best model binocular microscope. c.1866 Smith, Beck & Beck, 31 Cornhill, London, #4375. The Large Best model binocular microscope. c.1866
accessories
substage condenser
case microscope in the case
Smith, Beck & Beck, 31 Cornhill, London, #4375. The "Large Best" model microscope. Wood case.
SmithBeck and Beck Large Beck Microscope

Read the description of the Large Best microscope in "The Achromatic Microscope" by Richard Beck, 1865


This microscope is signed on one foot of the tripod base Smith, Beck & Beck, 31 Cornhill, London, #4375. It is an example of the Smith, Beck & Beck "Large Best" or No. 1 model microscope dating from 1866. This was the top-of-the-line model produced by the firm at the time.

The firm was established by James Smith, one of the three premier English microscope manufacturers of the Victorian era (the two others were A. Ross and H. Powell), around 1839. In 1847 Richard Beck became a partner in the firm and was shortly followed by his brother Joseph Beck in 1857. After the retirement of Smith in 1865, the firm was known as R&J Beck.

The microscope is constructed in brass with a bright lacquered surface finish and is about 19 inches tall when set up for use with the draw tubes partially extended as shown in some of the photos. The main focus is by rack and pinion and the fine focus is by calibrated micrometer screw operating on the nosepiece. The interocular separation is adjusted by moving the draw tubes with rack and pinion. The substage is focused by rack and pinion and can accommodate the various accessories supplied with the microscope. The microscope is equipped with a mechanical stage having orthogonal motions. The upper plate with slide holder can rotate in the optical axis. The instrument is supported by double pillars and can rotate upon the tripod base. The accessories associated with the microscope can be identified with reference to the later R. & J. Beck 1882 catalog.

A later example of the Large Best by R. & J. Beck and a later portable version of the microscope are also represented in the collection.

A short history of the R. & J. Beck firm

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