Here’s the before and after pictures of a microscope I have just finished, a Beck folding binocular microscope. It wasn’t in terrible condition but where it may have got damp at some point because the metal was quite pitted, especially where the lacquer was lost.
Here is the same microscope afterwards, the dark patches are gone, as are the green patches of corrosion. It hasn’t lost all signs of age but it looks much better than it did. The stage clips and the edges of the fine focus knob have been silvered
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.
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.
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.
This beautiful little Plossl had been mistreated, either stored in an attic or garage, or otherwise abused. Very little lacquer remained and that which did was decaying casuing corrosion and pitting to the metal. I have stripped off the old lacquer, removed the corrosion and polished without removing all the scratches and pitting that show the age and history of the microscope. They are simply safely locked away under new lacquer which should protect it from any further degradation. I have not lacquered the mirror or the objective as the risk of damage to them by polishing and hot lacquering was quite great. I’m rather pleased with it.