The collection of reproduction antique microscopes is dependent upon expert and tasteful craftsmanship.  From the original patterns, precision instrument craftsmen have reproduced this historical instrument collection in a flawless likeness to the original designs.  These instruments are, like the originals, formidable works of art. Very few museums in the world posses a collection of instruments equal to these.

Working from original patterns, craftsmen used brass, silver, shagreen leather from the sting ray, bone, rare teak and ebony, and finely polished glass lenses to reproduce historically significant instruments in faithful detail.  Early experiments in optics and specimen examination may be exactly reproduced and understood with the use of these instruments.  Each instrument is accompanied by a copy of the book 18th Century Microscopes: A Synopsis of History and Workbook by James B. McCormick, M.D, a manual which references the design and function details of each instrument component.

Screw Barrel Microscope, Sector Stand Reproduction, Culpeper, c. 1720

Edmund Culpeper, born in the late 1660's, was apprenticed to Walter Hayes, a famous engraver and instrument maker of Moorfield, London. The elaborate hand engraving of this microscope is an exact duplicate of the original.

This instrument was reproduced from the original antique microscope #0204 in the McCormick Collection.

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STAND: The brass tripod foot is an adaptation of a 4 1/2" sector. A turned pillar rises 6 1/4" from the sector center, terminating in a ball and socket joint with a slot cut away to permit upright position of the microscope. STAGE/SUBSTAGE: The modified Bonanni stage has a steel spring, two brass plates, and a third curved brass plate and leather pad to hold a slider or glass tube. A 3/4" condenser lens exists at the screw barrel end; a 1 1/4" condenser lens is mounted on the stand by a knuckle jointed arm. The 13/16" single concave mirror on a gimbal attaches to the pillar. BODY: The screw barrel brass body consists of a threaded screw and hollow sleeve. The compound body is made of ivory. OCULAR: The compound body contains one ocular at the proximate end. OBJECTIVES: The screw-barrel has six simple lenses and one Lieberkuhn lens. The compound body contains one objective. ADJUSTMENT: Coarse adjustment is by means of a long screw and also with a draw tube for the compound instrument. ACCESSORIES: Accessories include brass tweezers, pencil brush, case for Lieberkuhn lens, ebony handle, extension of opaque objects, stage forceps, forceps plate, brass animalcule cage, and four ivory sliders. CASE: The black Moroccan skiver leather covered wooden case, 8 9/16" L x 5" W x 2 1/8" H, is lined with dark green velvet. TOTAL HEIGHT: The compound microscope closed is 5 3/4" long. The microscope on stand in horizontal position is 7 1/2" tall. SIGNATURE/ENGRAVING: "Culpeper Fecit" is engraved on two folding arms of the sector stand. Engraved along the hollow screw-barrel sleeve is "Culpeper Fecit.", and on the forceps plate, while on the other, Culpeper's name is surrounded by a garland emblem. The sector stand has an ornamental motif at the base center. The simple lens mounts bear engraved numbers 1 through 6. The Replica Rara stamp and serial number is located on the underneath side of a sector foot. Price: $2,400.00


Price: $2,400.00

Compound, Screw-barrel Microscope, Wm. Robertson “Edinburgh” Reproduction, c. 1750

This instrument, which converts to a solar microscope, is an unusual modification of the screw-barrel microscope. The Scottish instrument maker, William Robertson, issued a pamphlet describing this "New Catadioptric Microscope."

This instrument was reproduced from the original antique microscope in a British museum collection.

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STAND: The ornately engraved base plate, supported by three 1/2" feet, forms the mounting base for 3 scrolled brass legs 4 1/8" tall. A brass ring receives the legs and is a seat for the turned wooden section on which the body sits. STAGE/SUBSTAGE: A modified Bonanni type stage is fixed with 2 brass plates on both sides of a central curved plate. A set of leaf springs are riveted to press against their respective set of brass plates located below. A 15/16" diameter plano convex lens screws into the brass and wooden mount in the optical axis. The plane oval mirror is on a gimbal hanging from the curved brass arm. BODY: The screw-barrel incorporates a 1 7/8" plain brass tube and two open brass sleeves which slide over the inner tube. A brass tube, 1 3/4" long, with a wooden eye piece, forms a compound body. It screws to the upper end of the screw-barrel body when a single lens is in place. OCULAR: The compound body wooden mount has a 3/8" diameter ocular. OBJECTIVES: Any of the 5 simple objectives in brass mounts or the Lieberkuhn lens screw into the screw-barrel sleeve. ADJUSTMENT: Coarse adjustment is obtained by sliding the middle sleeve on the inner tube; a thumb screw sets its position. The Cuff-like screw actually has a two start thread which gives rather rapid movement to the outer sleeve. ACCESSORIES: Accessories consist of a fish tube, stage forceps, micrometer with a wire 1/60 inch, carrier for forceps or micrometer, pencil brush, 4 ivory sliders, and a pair of tweezers. CASE: The wooden case (10 5/8" H) with a decorative latch, has a bottom accessory drawer and 2 small top drawers. TOTAL HEIGHT: Simple microscope is 8 1/4" tall; compound is 10 3/4". SIGNATURE/ENGRAVING: "W.R. Fecit" is engraved along the outer sleeve. Each objective is engraved with a Roman numeral 1 through 5. The Replica Rara stamp and serial number are engraved underneath the triangular base plate. The serial number is also etched underneath the brass mounting ring. Price: $1,950.00


Price: $1,950.00

Compound Microscope, J. Cuff Reproduction, c. 1757

This important design was devised by John Cuff, in 1744 at the suggestion of Henry Baker the well-known 18th century microscopist. The most significant innovation is in the composite side pillar, which gives rigidity, enabling the instrument to be provided with a delicate fine focus.

This instrument was reproduced from the original antique microscope in the McCormick Collection.

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STAND: The instrument foot, a 6 3/8" square box with accessory drawer, is made of oak, veneered with mahogany. The base pedestal, a composite brass pillar 9 7/8" tall, has a body mounting arm, 3 1/8" long, with a ring at the end. STAGE/SUBSTAGE: The fixed stage of a Maltese cross shape, has a 1 1/4" central recessed aperture, plus two stage openings, and two substage clips for accessories. A 1 3/4" single concave mirror is set in the optical axis. BODY: The 4" tall body, with 2 1/2" long nosepiece, has three ornamental ridges. The eyepiece has a sliding dust cap. OCULAR: The ocular is a biconvex doublet eye lens of 11/16" diameter and a second 1 1/4" diameter lens located near the middle ridge. The biconvex field lens is also 1 1/4". OBJECTIVES: There are six objectives in brass mounts. ADJUSTMENT: Coarse adjustment is made by a sliding motion of the composite pillar. A long fine thread screw connecting the sliding block with the body mount arm gives fine adjustment. ACCESSORIES: Accessories are a Bonanni stage, light cone, black and white ivory disc, 3 glass plates, Lieberkuhn sleeve and reflector, stage forceps, bull's eye condenser, live box, ebony mounted flea glass, fish plate, tweezers, 8 ivory talc boxes and a cleaning wire. CASE: The mahogany case (16 3/4" tall) with bottom drawer has a trade card in the back giving Cuff's address after 1757. TOTAL HEIGHT: The box foot base and closed instrument are 13" tall. SIGNATURE/ENGRAVING: Numbers 1 through 6 are engraved on the objectives and along the right hand side of the front pillar. Circling the central stage aperture is the inscription "J CUFF Londini Invt. & Fecit." The Replica Rara stamp and serial number appear on the pillar back.


Simple Compass Microscope, Lieberkuhn type Reproduction, c. 1800

In 1783 the German anatomist and physician, Dr. Johann Lieberkuhn, attached a concave polished silver mirror around a simple microscope objective lens. Light was thus reflected onto a solid object so that it was well illuminated from the eye side, till then virtually impossible, even though the idea had been around for approximately 100 years. Both the Lieberkuhn lens and the instrument's portability enhanced the use of the microscope for botanical field work.

This microscope was reproduced from the original antique microscope #0212 in the McCormick Collection

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STAND: The object is held with forceps which inserts into a brass fitting on the hinged compass arm. The forceps is turned by an L-shaped brass handle. BODY: The body, consisting of a brass circular ring, is mounted on a curved brass arm 3" long. A brass eyepiece, coated black on the eye side, screws into the circular ring. LENSES: Four Lieberkuhn lenses screw into the eyepiece. Each lens is matched in focal length with its coin silver concave mirror. ADJUSTMENT: Fine focusing is achieved by turning the knurled knob to adjust the distance between the compass arms. ACCESSORIES: Accessories include a hand magnifying lens, in a lignum vitae mount, and brass tweezers. CASE: The rectangular mahogany case, 7 1/2" L x 2 7/8" W x 1 11/16" H, is fitted and lined in chamois leather. TOTAL HEIGHT: Overall length with handle is 6 3/4". SIGNATURE/ENGRAVING: The Replica Rara stamp and serial number is located on the inside surface of the hinged compass arm. Price: $625.00


Price: $625.00

Simple Microscope, Spring object holder Reproduction, Early 19th century

During the late 18th and early 19th century the interest in simple image magnification included both the serious student who might carry a small pocket magnifier or field microscope and the casual novice who might purchase an inexpensive magnifier such as the Fruitwood Continental simple microscope. Some of these devices were manufactured by "toy makers" among whom were the wooden toy craftsmen of Nuremburg, Germany. This is a contrast to the optical or mathematical instrument makers who were providers to the scientific community.

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STAND: The microscope is formed by three turned wooden components: the simple round base, pillar, and an objective lens holder. STAGE: A pointed brass needle serves as the specimen mount. The coil of brass wire from which the point extends can be moved by delicate finger pressure to adjust the lens focus. OCULAR: The simple biconvex lens is mounted in the depression of a turned wooden ocular and secured in place with a brass ring. ADJUSTMENTS: In use the microscope is held between the thumb and forefingers. Fine focus is achieved by depressing the spring needle specimen mount while holding the instrument before the eye. TOTAL HEIGHT: Overall microscope height is 3 1/8 inches. Price: $180.00


Price: $180.00

Compound Microscope, Marshall’s “Great Double Constructed” Reproduction c.1700

John Marshall (1663-1725), an optical instrument maker at the sign of Archimedes and Spectacles, Ludgate Street, London, advertised this microscope for viewing the circulation of blood in 1693. For such examination the base is fitted with a lead counterweight, so the body tube can swing beyond the edge of the base support.  A means for maintaining the object in the optic axis when the main pillar is inclined is also provided. This was a significant step forward in the evolution of the microscope. A hallmarked sterling registration plaque  is fitted within the instrument drawer.

This microscope was reproduced from the original antique instrument #0189 in the McCormick Collection.

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STAND: A rectangular mounting pillar is attached to the base (an octagonal hardwood drawer cabinet, 5 7/8" x 8", with the top surface veneered in birds eye maple) by a ball and socket joint which permits inclination of the pillar and body. STAGE/SUBSTAGE: The stage has a circular brass plate, 1 7/8" diameter, with a turned ledge into which a black and white ivory plate fits. It is mounted at the end of a brass U-shaped arm which fits between a clamping but and shoulder above the ball and socket joint. This arrangement maintains the object in the optic axis on inclination. A biconvex condenser lens, 13/16" in diameter, is attached to the side of the base with a jointed arm. BODY: The cardboard body tube, 3 5/8" i.d. diameter, is covered with green shagreen (Dasyatis). The inside cardboard draw tube, 4 1/4" long, is covered with a dark green leather. OCULAR: The turned wooden eyepiece contains a biconvex field lens, 2 1/4" diameter, and a biconvex ocular, 1 3/8" diameter. OBJECTIVES: Any of the six objectives in brass mounts, screw onto the threaded brass nose piece, 1 1/2" long. ADJUSTMENT: The coarse adjustment is accomplished by a sliding movement of the pillar sleeve, with fixation set by a jam screw. A fine adjustment screw moves the secondary adjustment pillar sleeve. ACCESSORIES: Accessories include a fish plate, leaded coffin to confine fish, brass tweezers, stage forceps, flea glass in ivory box, and an ebony specimen holder. TOTAL HEIGHT: The microscope is 17 1/2" tall in close upright position. SIGNATURE/ENGRAVING: Both pillar and objectives are engraved with the numbers 1 to 6; pillar marks indicate positions for the objective powers.


Olde English Tripod Microscope Reproduction c.1680

The earliest known microscopes were a cylindrical tube supported by a small tripod, a pattern which continued in some form for over 200 years. This is a reproduction of one of a rare group of English instruments of the 1680's. The tooling is in the manner of bookbindings of the period. A study of tooling motifs has shown that all late 17th century microscopes and telescopes were made by very few workshops whose products were retailed by many London shopkeepers.

This instrument was reproduced from the original antique microscope #0141 in the McCormick Collection.

Additional DescriptionMore Details

STAND: From a dark hardwood circular base rise three turned brass pillars supporting the threaded horn collar which receives the nosepiece. STAGE: For transparent specimens, the object is placed over the hole in the base and viewed by holding the microscope to a light source. For opaque specimens, an ivory disc is placed in the hole and the specimen placed on the disc. BODY: The outer pasteboard body tube is covered with red morocco, the inner with green vellum. Both are decorated with gold impressed tooling. OCULAR(S): A biconvex field lens is located at the top of the inner tube. The outer tube carries a wooden eye piece in which is a single lens. OBJECTIVES: A single objective in wooden mount is screwed to the end of the nosepiece. Four additional objectives are supplied in a circular box which screws onto the eyepiece when the microscope is not in use. ADJUSTMENT: The microscope is focused by screwing the 2" long threaded nosepiece in and out of the collar. CASE: The circular cardboard case, 13 3/4" tall, is covered with red morocco and decorated in gold impressed tooling. TOTAL HEIGHT: The microscope stands 11" tall (nosepiece screwed all the way in) without its storage box top and 12" with the box top.


Compound-Brass, Culpeper-type Reproduction c. 1750

The traditional tripod microscope was popular through the 18th century, and, this design, associated with Culpeper's name, developed into an all brass instrument during the middle of the century. There are two basic sizes of this type among extant microscopes. The smaller, about 10-11" tall, is more rare than the larger which is usually about 15-16" tall.

This instrument, often called the apprentice model, is of the smaller (10-11" tall) model and was reproduced from the original antique microscope #0188 in the McCormick Collection.

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STAND: A circular brass base, 3 1/8" in diameter, is mounted on a hardwood box foot. Two sets of S-curved ornate legs dominate the microscope's physical design. The lower set rises 2 1/2" to support the platform stage. The upper set extends 1 5/8" from the stage to the bottom of the body mounting ring. STAGE/SUBSTAGE: The stage, 2 1/2" diameter, has a central recessed aperture, a small side aperture, a keyhole, and two substage clips for accessories. A single concave mirror, 1 1/4" diameter, is mounted on gimbal and post in the base center. BODY/BODY MOUNTING: A brass ring, mounted on the legs, receives the outer body tube, 3 1/3" tall. The draw tube slides into the outer tube. OCULAR(S): The ocular consists of a 1 3/16" field lens and a doublet eye lens. All three lenses are biconvex. The upper doublet is 9/16" and lower 5/8"; 1/4" separates the the doublets. OBJECTIVES: There are four objectives ranging from low to high power. ADJUSTMENT: Coarse adjustment is achieved by means of the draw tube. ACCESSORIES: Accessories consist of two ivory sliders, 1 corked glass tube, brass tweezers, stage forceps with black and white disc, live box, fish plate, and a Bonanni spring stage. CASE: A plexiglass covering sits on the hardwood box foot. TOTAL HEIGHT: The closed microscope is 10" tall; 11 5/8" with box case. SIGNATURE/ENGRAVING: Objectives are engraved with numbers 1 to 4. The draw tube is also marked with numbers 1 to 4. Price: $2,100.00


Price: $2,100.00

Simple Microscope, Leeuwenhoek, Antony Van Reproduction, late 17th century

Antony Van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), a Dutch Burgess, whose early use of lenses in examining cloth as a draper's apprentice probably led to his interest in lens making. As a student of nature he was probably the first man to see blood corpuscles, protozoa, and bacteria. For these investigations, he designed and made a simple microscope.

Leeuwenhoek made several hundred such microscopes. Of the nine originals extant today, the best has a magnification of 275x. These hand held instruments could reveal more detail than 18th century compound microscopes and were not really superceded in resolving power until the 1820's.
A reproduction of this antique instrument was made for this collection in the Royal Microscopical Society Collection at Oxford, England .
Additional DescriptionMore Details

STAND: The microscope is held up to the eye using the thumb screw. STAGE: A pointed rod 1/4" long for mounting specimens is screwed into a 13/16" long metal block or stage. BODY: The simple lens is mounted between two thin sterling silver oblong plates 15/16" by 1 7/8" at their greatest dimensions. OCULAR: The simple biconvex lens is clamped in a concavity formed between the plates and secured by four equidistant rivets. ADJUSTMENTS: A screw, 13/32" long, aligns the stage and object with the lens while a thumb screw on the eye side pivots the metal plates giving lateral motion. Focusing is achieved by a second thumb screw which passes through the stage at one end and presses against the plane of the oblong plates. Turning the knob of the object holder acts as a further focusing mechanism. CASE: The plexi-glass mount and case, provided with a wooden base with mirrored top surface, is 3 1/4" square and 6" tall. TOTAL HEIGHT: Overall microscope length, with object spike in position before the lens, is 3". SIGNATURE/ENGRAVING: The Replica Rara stamp is located at the base to the two oblong plates and to the right of the long focusing screw.