Huxley Convertible

The Huxley "convertible" is a rare microscope that had been designed by Huxley for his own use, made c.1880 by Parkes & Sons, Birmingham, England. This instrument is in the configuration of a dissecting microscope to which a body tube can be attached, thus converting it into a compound microscope of higher magnification. This is a complete cased kit, in mint condition, that had been written up in the Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society. A substage lens screws into the bottom of the stage to act as a condenser. A number of scientists of that period had designed microscopes for their own use which were then constructed by microscope manufacturers as, essentially, 'one of a kind'. The two photos show the same instrument in its two configurations.
 
 
Huxley Convertible
The following is a description of this microscope from the Royal Microscopical Society Journal of 1880 (pp 705-706):

"This instrument, made by Mssrs. Parkes and Son, of Birmingham, was arranged by Professor Huxley, and was shown by him during his term of office as President of the Quekett Microscopical Club. It is designed specially for use either as a simple or a compound microscope, and arranged with regard to portability for traveling.

The stage - which is furnished with rotating diaphragm, and arm for carrying a condenser - consists of a circular disk of black plate glass, with a large central aperture, and is mounted on a brass tripod stand strong enough to bear considerable pressure. The arm, carrying the powers and compound body, has a coarse rack movement, and fine screw adjustment, and can be turned aside if required.

On Professor Huxley's suggestion, that the old plan of screwing on the objectives and compound body should be abolished, a new and more expeditions method has been adopted. Instead of screwing the body on to the arm, and then screwing the objective into the body, the objectives are made to slide down smoothly into the arm, and may thus be used as simple posers, for dissection. When the compound body is required, it may be instantaneously slid over the objective, and is thus ready for use, with a great saving of time and trouble.

Should it be desirable at any time to use objectives having the Society screw, provision is made for so doing, by the lower end of the tube, which passes through the arm being cut with such a screw. A loose adapter having the standard screw is also supplied with each instrument, which will receive the objectives belonging to it; by screwing them into the adapter they may be used with another microscope if necessary."



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