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Optical observations, diversions and demonstrations. Explore how we’ve studied and played with light.
'Octagon preserver' spectacles with round rectangular lenses and sliding side-arms
Brass 'octagon preserver' spectacles with two sets of rounded rectangular green lenses and sliding side-arms, one marked 'SCHWEIZER' c.1800, for American wear made by Germans, donated to M.W Dunscombe by Mrs Grant of Montreal, Canada on the death of Dr S.S Grant, Germany, 1780-1820
English steel 'pantoscopic' spectacles by Elkington, patent
English steel 'pantoscopic' spectacles by Elkington, patent no 6692, c.1834- c1860.
Wollaston camera lucida with Ross modification
Wollaston camera lucida with Ross modification, with flat triangular base, English, early 19th century
Lenses and analysers from Anderton's Lantern Stereoscope
part of Anderton's patent Lantern Stereoscope, consisting of 2 lenses and 3 binocular analysers, English, late 19th century
English rimless rigid eyeglasses with horizontal b
English rimless rigid eyeglasses with horizontal bar, gold frame and oval astigmatic lenses, c. 1910.
Glass prism showing the illusion of a goblet on or
Glass prism showing the illusion of a goblet on ornate, carved, wooden stand, English, c. 1850.
Case, brown leather-covered, for camera lucida
Brown leather-covered case for camera lucida made by Cary, England, c. 1830.
English clip eyeglasses with nickel-plated frame,
English clip eyeglasses with nickel-plated frame, oval lenses, short perfection and shell plates, c. 1890 (frame only).
Model (mahogany case not present), (15 3/4 x 4 1/4
Model (mahogany case not present), (15 3/4 x 4 1/4 x 6 1/4-inches), to illustrate the theory of the prism for producing colours from white light, English, c. 1800.
English tortoiseshell pivot eyeglasses with oval lenses
English tortoiseshell pivot eyeglasses with oval lenses, c. 1840.
Plastic hand magnifier for cataracts sufferers, Co
Plastic hand magnifier for cataracts sufferers, Combined Optical Instruments Ltd, England, 1970-1990
'Porro' optical system, from a trench periscope
'Porro' optical system with modified 'Porro' type cemented glass prisms, from No.14 trench periscope, by R & J Beck Limied, London, England, 1910-1920.
Pair of miniature spectacles stored a gold-coloure
Pair of miniature spectacles stored a gold-coloured Herba Pills box, unsigned, United Kingdom, 1801-1979
Six-draw single gilt opera glass, W. & S. Jones, L
Six-draw single gilt opera glass, W. & S. Jones, London, c. 1820
Animated Holographic Stereogram, about 1995
Hologram, animated holographic stereogram in black painted wooden frame, showing a ballet dancer performing a pirouette, made by Stevie Smith, 1995.
Pair of Martin type 'Visual Glasses' spectacles
Pair of Martin type 'Visual Glasses' spectacles with round lenses, steel frames and double side folding arms, unsigned, English, 1750-1820
Lacquered spyglass telescope.
Black lacquer draw-tube terrestrial telescope, with cardboard and paper tube with gold decoration (flower motifs) in matching carrying case, unsigned, Japanese, 1800-1901.
Brass spyglass with 2 eyepiece powers
Brass spyglass (outer cover missing) with 2 eyepiece powers by Dollond family, London, 1700-1799
Tutton's goniometer, for cutting, grinding and polishing minerals
Tutton's goniometer, for cutting, grinding and polishing minerals with proper orientations by Troughton & Simms, London, 1894. Designed by Mr. A. E. Tutton
Terrestrial hand telescope, 6-draw, vellum body, s
Terrestrial hand telescope, 6-draw, vellum body, stamped originally in gold, wooden mounts, by Howe, signed:- Jo. HOWE/LONDINI/FECIT, c.1680. cap for Object Glass and wooden eyepiece tube lacking, length closed 1ft, 1 3/8 inch, eye lens mount cracked and piece missing, Object Glass mount cracked, and piece missing; all four lenses in good order
Steinheil cones, 1 to 6-inches case, signed 'Carpenter & Westley, Opticians, 24 Regent St., London', England, in leather case, c. 1870
Screw barrel microscope with folding tripod stand
microscope, Screw barrel microscope, with one object lens, microscope attached by ball socket to folding tripod stand, with adjustable magnifying lens, unsigned, by Edward Scarlett, (active 1705-1743), London, 1720-1740. lacks eye piece lens
Spectrometer eye piece mount flange and retaining bracket
Eye piece mount flange and retaining bracket with screw thread for spectrometer, fitted with replica of Rowlands grating, W. Watson and Sons, London, England, 1905-7.
Optical device for measuring the absorption of different frequencies of light
Optical device for measuring the absorption of different frequencies of light by different solutions, with electrical light source attached, made by R & J Beck, made 1850-1924 (Wellcome No. B1084)
Gas permeable hard contact lens, lathed by A. Gass
Gas permeable hard contact lens, lathed by A. Gasson, c.1982, with plastic case.
Concave diffraction grating on speculum metal, gra
Concave diffraction grating on speculum metal, grating area 27 x 19 mm, on black enamelled metal stand with three levelling feet, fine adjustment for setting grating vertical, and sliding metal cover for grating, signed 'ADAM HILGER LTD / LONDON', estimated date 1910-1948.
Non-achromatic prospect glass telescope
Non-achromatic prospect glass telescope, gilded brass one-draw tube covered with green leather and shagreen by, Nairne & Blunt, London, England, 1774-1793.
Camera lucida, designed by Wollaston
Camera lucida designed by Wollaston and made by Cary, England, c. 1830.
Glazed frame with photograph of Hilger Camera lens
Glazed frame with photograph of Hilger Camera lens interferometer along with 20 view taken with the instruments (acquired with 1932-543/1), 1930-1932.
Night telescope (non-achromatic) made by J. and W.
Night telescope (non-achromatic) made by J. and W. Watkins, London. Object glass 2 3/4" diameter, focal length 27 inches. Said to have been the property of Admiral Lord Nelson
Six draw miniature brass gilt spyglass
Six draw miniature brass gilt spyglass, Moore and Starkey, 89 St Martins Lane, London, England, 1801-1900.
Wheatstone-type pseudoscope in leather case
Wheatstone type pseudoscope in red leather box, by G. Knight & Co., Foster Lane, London, 1857-1861 (B877).
William Storer's 'artificial eye' (camera obscura)
William Storer's 'artificial eye' (camera obscura), in ivory and rosewood mount, unsigned, but owned and probably made by William Storer, London, England, 1778-1789. Marked as 'No.38' and 'professor of optics to his majesty'.
'New Improved' universal compound microscope
'New Improved' universal compound microscope with fitted mahogany case (no key), by George Adams, No. 60 Fleet Street, London, England, c. 1790. Accessories include: fish plate, magnifier, probe, 8 object glasses, 8 large bone slides and one small bone slide, 4 large boxwood slides and brass slide, 2 glass discs and ivory container
Pair of collapsible lightweight folding field glass binoculars
Pair of ‘Galilean’ type, collapsible lightweight folding field glass binoculars, patent ,1018 (6 power & 38mm objective lenses), aluminium body and parts, by Aitchison & Co, London, England, 1910-1927 (see note).
Signaller's binocular, serial no.530, made for the
Signaller's binocular, serial no.530, made for the Admiralty on Kepler's (inverting) system, made by Dollond, London, also marked with the company trademark and the National Physical Laboratory monogram and the date '15
Nicol prism polariser
Square double Nicol prism, one of six (quadruple cemented composite crystal of Iceland spar - calcite), unsigned, supplied by James Swift and Son Limited, London, England, 1900-1936. For use as a polarizer lens in a microscope.
Two prisms, of crown and plate glass respectively,
Two prisms, of crown and plate glass respectively, angle 10 degrees, by Ladd, London, c. 1872
Polariscope to show rings in axis-cut crystals
Early polariscope to show the rings in axis-cut crystals, by William Cary, London, c.1830.
Case for hand telescope
Green shagreen case for Hand telescope, 4-draw, by Benjamin Martin, London, c.1775
left-handed quartz prism by Adam Hilger Ltd., c. 1
left-handed quartz prism by Adam Hilger Ltd., c. 1902. Used by the late Col. J. W. Gifford.
White light reflection hologram entitled "He Speak
White light reflection hologram entitled "He Speaks to the Woman". One of a series, " Stations of the Cross" by Malcolm Woodward.
The first Michelson Echelon Grating made in Europe
The first Michelson Echelon Grating made in Europe with diffraction grating and 15 plates. Made by Adam Hilger Ltd., (unsigned) London, England, 1899
Leather cylindrical case for Gregorian telescope
Cylindrical, oval section, leather case for pocket reflecting Gregorian telescope by Thomas Ribright, London, 1735-1806. Marked with owner's name, Mr Stewart, Hanover Street, London (?).
spyglass or Galilean telescope, contains gilded to
spyglass or Galilean telescope, contains gilded tools: scissors, tweezers, ivory wedge, spatula, etc. (lacks some items), green shagreen covered body, silver plated fittings, Thomas Ribright, London, late 18th century. Signed inscription on eye-lens sliding dust shade: 'RIBRIGHT / OPTICIAN / FECIT / LONDON'.
Spectroscope of type used by Kirchhoff & Bunsen
Spectroscope of type used by Kirchhoff & Bunsen
Pancratic refracting telescope by Spencer, Brownin
Pancratic refracting telescope by Spencer, Browning & Co., London, England, c. 1845. Nickel-plated brass (?), mahogany tube, lens cap.
Single opera glass, ivory body covered with turned decoration
Single opera glass, with white ivory body covered with turned decoration, by John Tuther, 221 Holborn, London, 1822
Brewster type kaleidoscope on tripod mount, by Rob
Brewster type kaleidoscope on tripod mount, by Robert Brettell Bate, London, England, c. 1820.