Can you provide any information on this unusual Leitz microscope?

A query by Gordon Couger, USA.


I found this microscope in a box of lighting oddments I bought at a university auction. While it is rather crude in appearance and not very well finished, it produces very good images. It has a condenser and the light can be focused to produce critical illumination on the slide and there are two low power objectives. It gives very good images in a darkened room with a screen 6 to 8 feet away.

The disassembled microscope

The stage, lamp house/condenser and objective mount are all adjustable. The objectives have a helical adjustment for fine focus. The objective housing is threaded at the larger open end. It is possible that an eyepiece tube or projection eyepiece could have been screwed into it. When the objectives are used as a hand lens they appear to be about 6X and both appear to be the same power.

Makers mark on lamp housing.

I have contacted Leica who now own Leitz and talked to some old hands from Leitz that have no recollection of having seen one like this. I have also talked to several Leitz collectors and three musem curators and none of them have ever seen one. That leads me to believe that it is either very rare or counterfit.

Fitment details.

It appears to have all original parts except the electrical cord and light bulb. Talking to people that collect electronics, the conclusion is that the light cord dates from the 1920's. It is certainly from before 1930, because I tore up a lot of radio gear from the 30's and later and never saw a cord like it. It is a very high quality cord to have survived these years in usable condition.

From the lack of serial number and over all construction it must have been made about the same time the light bulb was invented. The lamp house is obviously made to dissipate heat from a light bulb and would not be usable with lime light or other open flame light source. It is possible that it could have used a small carbon arc light for short periods of time. The cast iron stand is stable in the horizonal or vertical position.

If any Micscape readers have any information, conjectures or just want to talk about it, I have a subject thread open on the Microscopy-UK Forum or you can contact me via e-mail.

Gordon Couger

Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA.

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