Page 12 - hl-Smith&Beck
P. 12

views, and the injection of which excited general admiration. This Surgeon uses a
          stereoscopic binocular microscope, as manufactured by Smith, Beck & Beck, of London, and
          which is, no doubt, one of the best ever made.

         A review of the Smith, Beck & Beck Delivery Books [33] confirmed the sale of a
binocular microscope, type “B.P.S.” serial 2695 to Professor Thiersch, in June 1861.

         A “Notice of Donation to the Medical Museums” at Queens College, Belfast is
noteworthy [34]:

          A beautiful series of microscopical preparations, showing the texture of many organs of the
          body, was presented by Dr. Thiersch, of Leipzig, to Dr. Redfern, Professor of Anatomy, and
          by him generously handed over to the college.

         Unfortunately the actual date of that donation was not noted. Another similar
bequest of Thiersch’s transparent injections, made long after their actual preparation,
was recorded in the The Harvard Graduates Magazine, 1896-97 [35]:

          The President reported that Mr. Bernard S. Oppenheimer had given to the Zoological
          Department a collection of 136 preparations of transparent injections of the vascular system
          of various organs and parts of organs of vertebrates, prepared by the late Professor C.

         Thiersch of Leipzig, Germany.
         Communication with archivists at the Harvard University Museum of Comparative
Zoology (the modern repository of the old Zoology Department collections) brought the
unfortunate news that this group of Thiersch’s transparent injections had evidently long
ago disappeared from their inventory and collections, as no record or evidence of them
could be located.
         In addition to using carmine red and Prussian blue, Thiersch developed other
colours for use as well. In Stricker’s 1870 Manual of Human and Comparative Histology
[36], we find:

          The colouring matters usually employed are Prussian blue and carmine… Thiersch, whose
          transparent injections are perfect models of the art, also uses a transparent green and

         One of the slides from Beck shown in the accompanying illustrations (the
preparation of “Rabbit, Liver”) is just such a four-colour injection (Fig. 4G). Beale, in his
1868 edition of How to Use the Microscope [37], also described Thiersch’s development of
injection colors other than red and blue, mentioning yellow, green, and a lilac variation of
carmine. Other interesting references were found describing “Thiersch’s Shellac” or
“Thiersch’s Varnish” and its use [38]:

          When the specimens have been mounted for several days, weeks, or even months in pure
          Canada balsam, or a solution of the same in chloroform, they are then surrounded with a
          border of Canada balsam in chloroform… later, but never before the second or third day, still

         better after weeks or months ~ a final coating is to be applied.

12 Originally published in the Winter 2012 Quekett Journal of Microscopy, Issue 41, pages 701-712

                             Republished with permission in Micscape Magazine, March 2016
   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17