Ernie the Reichert

Ernie The Reichert 

This is Ernie, he’s a Reichert and he used to work in milk testing. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of him before lacquering. He had some deep scratches. I wasn’t able to get all of them out on the tube because of the enormous amount of engraving on the tube but I managed to get the really bad ones out of the foot. 

I did take one picture of Ernie before he was lacquered, just the foot. I took the picture because I was impressed by the difference in colour between the faded and unfaded areas. Where the upright was attached to the foot, no light could penetrate resulting in a dramatic colour difference. 

I’m very pleased with him, he’s come out well. 

I came, I saw, I conquered

Never, in the history of microscopes has a microscope given me so much trouble. I don’t know why but this piece of a Reichert just did not want to be lacquered. I did it again and again and again. It ran, it dripped, it missed bits. I tried using cloths, pads, brushes, foam, I tried hot, warm and cold metal. The thing was out to get me.

It happens sometimes, you just have a bad day, but the good thing about lacquering microscopes is that if you mess it up you can just take the lacquer off and redo it. Not that that is much comfort on the third day of trying having used up 100 mls of lacquer.

I got there in the end. The Reichert (whose name is Ernie) is now my friend again. Now for the trickier bits.

New condenser for Oberhaeuser

This Oberhauser drum microscope needed a new mirror and a new condenser. The condenser arm and holder have been made using a coping saw and hand files and special screws were made which allow the condenser arm to be repositioned whilst remaining firm. The condenser mount was made on the lathe. It just needs painting olive green now to match the rest of the microscope. It can be removed and fits neatly into the box with the rest of the microscope as the original would have done.

This microscope does not need any relacquering as the original lacquer  is still 99% intact. I have taken some pictures using the microscope – one is of a xylophyte stem and the other is of radiolarians.

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Pllischer progress

The Pillischer is coming along, as you can see I haven’t done the tube holder or bar yet because I have problems with them. The tube holder  has been attacked with a wrench at some point and is distorted so that the tube is extremely stiff. I am not entirely sure how to sort it out. You can get the tube in and out but it takes the strength of Atlas.

There’s a spring missing from the fine focus mechanism too so that will have to  be replaced. At least the paint is off. That took a lot of sandpaper and hard work.

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The worst microscope I have ever seen

This one is going to take a long time for a small microscope. A Pillischer International, the serial number is 2905 for those that have records of such things. It’s my own microscope and I can only imagine I decided self torture was cool on the day I bought it. It has been spray painted a copper pink colour. The spray painter did quite a good job in that they took the microscope to pieces (mostly) but the paint has etched the surface really badly and stained it too. The metal is so badly damaged that I have spent a day just on the foot.

I have had to be quite aggressive, I have stripped the paint off with paint stripper and then I have filed the metal and used 600 grit sandpaper. I would usually not use such harsh abrasives. That was just enough to remove the last traces of paint. Once I had removed the paint I used pumice and rouge as normal. There are still some flaws in the metal but I have to console myself with the fact that the flaws are part of its history.

I have only done the foot so far. My hands are aching from polishing so it’s time for a break.

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Henry Crouch Binocular

This Henry Crouch had been converted from monocular to binocular at some point in its history but the additional tube had never been lacquered. The lacquer on the original tube was mostly intact apart from a few knocks and bumps so it was only necessary to lacquer the one, unlacquered tube. The original lacquered tube was a beautiful colour, a rich yellow with a hint of chocolate brown.  I was somewhat surprised when I saw this microscope because I have never seen such an eye catching colour before. The photos don’t do it justice, in some lights it appears chocolate brown and in other lights it appears yellow. I did wonder if I would be able to match the colour when I first saw it but the use of aniline dye made it much simpler than I first feared.  Henry Crouch microscopes often used  aniline dyes. The rest of the microscope was lacquered with yellow, a lovely two-tone specimen.

The microscope was missing an aperture wheel and tensioning screws for the rack. The mirror gimbal was broken in two (held together with string) and the mirror holder was thin and cracked. I made new screws, stage clips, an aperture wheel and a mirror gimbal and holder. The stage had lost all its colour so that was blackened and the foot which had peeling paint on it was stripped and chemically blackened as it would have been originally. The rack now moves as it should and it looks very smart indeed. The  before and after pictures are below

Another day, another microscope

This is a Watson Edinburgh that has been mistreated. I have taken it apart now and starting removing the traces of old lacquer with ultrafine wire wool and ethanol. Once that is complete I will have to decorrode and polish. I have recruited my husband to help me with thepolishing.

The Watson Edinburgh doesn’t need any new parts, the rack and pinion are fine and no screws are missing. It’s all down to the lacquer. I’m not going to to much to the foot or other chemically blackened areas, just a clean for them.

Let’s see what we can do for this little one…

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The completed Ross

The Ross has turned out well, it had heavy pitting and took a lot of work. As you can see it does not look brand new, it still has signs of its age. The Ross was polished entirely by hand before lacquering. It needed several new screws at the rear and on the bar of the microscope as the original metal used contained a lot of lead which shears easily.

This is a complex microscope, every single screw was hand made to fit each screw hole. The left hand screw of a pair is not interchangeable with the right hand screw so it was important to write down and photograph where each and every screw came from as the microscope was taken apart. I’m a big fan of standardisation but that came later.

Not all of the screws were put in straight either! The legs which should be interchangeable, being identical shapes, were not interchangeable as whoever made the microscope screwed one of the screws in at an angle of about 20 degrees. Nobody could ever argue this was  anything but completely handmade. A handmade microscope deserves hand polishing and hand lacquering. I have a new respect for (and a few new grudges against) Mr Ross.

The only parts I have not relacquered is the Wenham Prism. The heat involved in hot lacquering could easily damage the prism so it’s best left as it is. The mirror being very chunky acts as a great heat sink so I was able to relacquer that.