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Hortus Sanitatis, 1497

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Newsletter 2017/1
May 2017


The Virtual Museum is eventually emerging from a long silent period and we have the pleasure to resume our newsletter’s tradition with the purpose of focusing your attention on some novelties.

A Belgian collector offered us the opportunity to enrich our spectroscopy section by sharing pictures of a series of recently acquired hand spectroscopes. In this category we present therefore some instruments from famed constructors :

  • Two straight hand spectroscopes produced respectively by R. & J Beck and John Browning. Interestingly the last one, a large straight-hand instrument known as "Grace’s spectroscope" was originally designed for meteorological use before becoming used for the various purposes for which a direct vision spectroscope can be used.
  • Two very similar instruments signed by John Browning and Watson & Sons. It must be said that In 1900 W. Watson & Sons purchased the John Browning & Co and became a Limited company in 1908.
  • The last and more recent instrument (ca 1950) was produced by Carl Zeiss.

Two years ago we added some wooden models produced by Oscar Libotte of Liège to the collection of crystal models. Through the courtesy of Johan Kjellman (Uppsala University) we learned that in 1841 Oscar Libotte exposed a series of 12 "formes cristallines destinées au cabinet de l'Université de Liège" probably as examples of his skilfulness.

In the book collection of the VMHM, we present a precise description and some pictures of the binding, title page and other selected pages of each book. Please note that a search through digital libraries (Internet Archive, Google books,...) can easily provide access to the full text and plates of an ever growing number of books. Some of these sites also allow users to create a useful personal library.

We hope to get more contributions for the development of our site in the near future allowing us to regularly present new entries in all the sections of the VMHM. If you have items that you wish to insert in the Virtual Museum, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be glad to assist you.


Claude Hootelé, Paul Tambuyser
info@mineralogy.eu