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Hortus Sanitatis, 1497

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Newsletter 2018/1
July 2018


The spectroscope and polarizing microscope sections of the Virtual Museum of the History of Mineralogy are enriched once more through the courtesy and enthusiasm of a Belgian collector wishing to share pictures and descriptions of some of his recently acquired instruments.

Since our last newsletter, the section on hand spectroscopes now presents five more instruments; for the moment this section describes a total of 17 instruments from 9 different makers:

  • in the Beck instrument, a knob allows for the spectrum to be moved across the field of vision while the bright line of the slit stays fixed
  • in the Penrose hand spectroscope, adjustment of the slit and focusing of the the eyepiece are obtained respectively by rotation at one end and friction at the other
  • six positions for the selection of the slit are present in the Rayner diffraction grating hand spectroscope
  • the John Browning instrument in a elegant cylindrical leather covered tube dates from the end of the 19th century
  • the small Ernst Leitz hand spectroscope contains a series of three prisms and an achromatic lens between the prisms and the slit ; it is offered with claps

We are well aware that not all hand spectroscopes were used for mineralogical purposes, but given the opportunity to add different instruments to present an interesting variety of this kind of equipment made us decide to show all of them.

In the section of polarizing microscopes, an instrument produced by Ernst Leitz with more classical accessories is newly introduced. Its serial number indicates that it was made around 1925.

Please note that you are always welcome to contribute to the enrichment of the Virtual Museum of the History of Mineralogy by sharing your treasures (even incognito) with other collectors. Without your help the expansion of the site is impossible.


Claude Hootelé, Paul Tambuyser
info@mineralogy.eu