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The Achromatic Microscope by Richard Beck (1865)

The author of this treatise writes in great detail on the construction, proper operation, and capabilities of Smith, Beck, and Beck’s achromatic microscopes and accessories. It is a rare description and detailed instruction on the use of an advanced design achromatic microscope and numerous special accessories.┬áHe begins with a description: “A Compound Achromatic Microscope consists essentially of two parts, an object-glass and an eyepiece – so called because they are respectively near the object and the eye when the instrument is in use.

The object-glass screws, and the eyepiece slides, into opposite ends of a tube termed the 'body', and upon the union of the two the magnifying power depends. The microscope-stand is an arrangement for carrying the body; and is combined with a stage for holding or giving traverse to an object, and a mirror or some other provision for illumination."

He then describes each part individually: Microscope Stands, The Stage, The Mirror, The Substage, Revolving and Folding Bases, The Eyepiece, The Object-glasses, The "Universal Screw", and The 1/20th Object-Glass.

Beck goes on to describe the proper operation of the microscope, beginning with the management of light. He explains the methods of transmitted illumination - how to use the mirror, the diaphragm, the achromatic condenser, tests for object-glasses, adjustments for high powers, tests with the Podura-scale, methods of measuring aperture, "lined objects" as tests, Nobert's lines, and oblique illumination.

He then explains the methods of illumination from above - how to use the slide condensing lenses, the slide silver reflector, the Lieberkuhns, forceps, and the opaque disk-revolver. Beck continues by providing specific instructions on viewing test object such as the splinter of a Lucifer match, the Podura-scale, the tarsus of a spider, the feather of a pigeon, and the Arachnoidiscus Japonicus.

Another section of the book discusses polarized light as applied to the microscope. Specific methods are detailed, including the use of Nicol's prism, the selenite plate, Darker's retarding-plates of selenite, Darker's selenite stage, tourmalines, polarizers for large objects, experiments with double-image prisms, and crystals to show rings.
Beck also describes and explains Wenham's binocular body for achromatic microscopes. He defends binocular vision and praises Wenham for making a major contribution to microscopy.

Sundry apparatus is also described, including live-boxes and troughs, the screw live-box, lever compressors, Wenham's compressor, reversible compressors, the frog plate, the camera lucida, micrometers, Quekett's indicator, double and quadruple nosepieces, Leeson's goniometer, Maltwood's finder, and microscope lamps and tables.

In addition, Beck also discusses the third class microscope for students, the universal microscopes, and single microscopes and magnifiers. Finally, he describes various instruments used in preparing objects, instruments and materials used in mounting objects, and microscopic cabinets.
This classic text is the most complete and detailed description of the component parts and functions of a "modern" compound microscope.

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