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A brass monocular microscope in fitted mahogany case by C Baker of London c1870. The body of the microscope is of lacquered brass and is of Lister limb construction with patinated U shape base. Main barrel of the microscope with two draws which are extended to provide coarse focusing – these being closed when stored within the case. Barrel with single eyepiece and screw-in objective lens. Microscope with two eyepieces and two objective lenses – all appearing to be original. Fine focus is by a small screw located behind the barrel. Square stage with brass retaining clips. Sub-stage there is a wheel with four apertures to adjust light to the specimen and adjustable concave mirror on a swinging arm. Engraved to base: Baker 244 High Holborn London. The microscope is in a fitted mahogany case – unusual in that it is constructed to be stored on its ‘back’. Within the fitted case there is storage for the second eyepiece and brass canisters for both objective lenses. Hinged door with inlaid escutcheon and original lock (no key). Case measures 28 cm in width, 15.25 cm in depth and 10.75 cm height. Fully extended the microscope is approximately 33 cm in height.


The firm of C Baker based at 244 High Holborn was established in 1765. By 1845, a descendent, Charles Baker (c1814 – c1893) was advertising himself as an optical and surgical instrument manufacturer, making and retailing microscopes, telescopes, theodolites, etc – in addition to selling the usual range of mathematical and drawing instruments. In 1861 he leased number 243 in addition to 244 High Holborn – advertising second hand as well as new instruments to be sold from his “Instrument Warehouse” at 243/244 High Holborn, with the offer of taking old instruments in part exchange. His instruments were described as affordable and of good quality – undercutting his contemporaries such as Ross, Cary and others. In 1894 following Charles’ death, the Curties family took over the business but continued producing and retailing under the Baker name. As well as their own microscopes, the shop sold microscopes by Zeiss and Leitz, among others. The company stayed in ownership of the Curties family over several generations – taking additional premises in Balham and then Croydon but retaining the shop and office at 244 High Holborn. C Baker Ltd were listed as exhibitors at both the 1929 and 1947 British Industries Fair as “Manufacturer of Microscopes and allied Apparatus for Research, Medical, Education and Industry”. The company was acquired by Vickers in 1963, becoming part of the newly formed Vickers Instruments which continued until 1988.

Mahogany Cased Brass Monocular Microscope by Baker of London c1870

SKU: MS156
  • This microscope is in excellent condition commensurate with age and use. Wear to the lacquered brass as would be expected. Wear to the patinated stage and foot. Optics in excellent original working condition. Knocks and marks to case from use. Please see images as these form an important part of the description.

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