Many of us engaged in amateur microscopy are in the older age group and during our many years in amateur microscopy we collect items of microscopical importance. We accumulate microscope manuals, leaflets, catalogues, and the such like.
Many of us have an old microscope manual or catalogue. Equally, if in fact many more, people are in need of such a manual or publication regarding their microscope. Unfortunately the makers of the particular instrument are likely to have long out of business and the manuals etc are no longer available.
So, if you sell a microscope and have the relevant manual, include it in the sale. Even if you are not selling, and you have the manual, give a thought to keeping it in the box with the microscope because our heirs and executors just have no idea of how valuable these manuals are. Microscopes, microtomes and other equipment they know can be sold, but who wants old manuals, catalogues etc.? and only too often this important documentation is consigned to the rubbish sack. You will all know what I mean when I say that those of you who have bought a second-hand microscope will indeed be fortunate if the manual was handed over with it.
Catalogues can often give useful information when one is unable to trace other information about an instrument, and they are worth preserving too. An old catalogue can provide much information, including telling us what variations of the instrument and other accessories were made, as well as giving us an idea as to what it cost when it was new. It is surprising how many people like to know what their old microscope cost when new and how much that cost would be in today's money values.
I am often asked if I can supply a manual for a particular microscope, and sometimes I can; if not I take a note to supply a copy if and when I can obtain it. So firstly, when you sell a microscope ensure that the manual gets passed on. Secondly, if you have any surplus manuals and catalogues you no longer require, pass them on while you have the opportunity to where they will do some good, such as to any Microscopical Society for their library.
Editors note: The Micscape Editor thanks Roy Winsby for allowing this article to be reproduced on the Web. Also thanks to Mike Samworth for preparing the Web version of the article.
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