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MicroscopyPioneers


Figure 3 : Dissection microscope with dovetail mount, produced in this form until 1848, from the collection of Timo Mappes. Photograph taken by Manfred Stich.


company, he wanted to acquaint himself with the day-to-day work of natural scientists. A report written by Schleiden about Carl Zeiss states that he “has familiarized himself, especially in recent times, with the needs of the nature researchers at the Physiological Institute and has thus put himself in a much better position to meet their needs than anyone else” [ 4 ]. In 1846 Carl Zeiss founded a workshop for precision mechanics in Jena. He assumed the basic construction of simple microscopes from his employer Friedrich Körner, who passed away in 1847. At the time, these microscopes were employed primarily for preparatory work. When used, the instrument was secured on its storage case, thus off ering the observer a suitable viewing height ( Figure 3 ). It was, however, also possible to mount it on a wooden block, with its raised side sections serving as an armrest during preparatory work. T ese simply constructed microscopes were very well received by experts on account of their exceptional mechanical and optical features. In 1852, Zeiss began to incorporate new design features (fi xed stage and movable lens holder) into his microscopes. Aſt er Körner’s death, Carl Zeiss also continued the approach of collaborating with a scientist, Friedrich Wilhelm Barfuss (1809–1854). In 1839, Barfuss wrote a textbook on dipotrics in which he summarized all that was known about the construction of optical instruments at the time [ 5 ]. We can assume that this book, and the personal advice provided by the expert, had a considerable impact on Carl Zeiss’s early products. Because Barfuss only based his assumption on geometric optics, in other words did not take the wave character of light into consideration, his approaches were not very promising for the improvement of microscope optics—but he had no way of knowing this. It is occasionally reported that Carl Zeiss himself attempted to understand the problem of how to improve microscope optics through an understanding of science. As a trained mathematician, he had the skills to do so. T at said, there is no evidence of any such studies. In 1857 Carl Zeiss marketed his fi rst compound microscopes, which quickly found favor among experts. Bonn-based botanist Hermann Schacht (1814–1864), who studied under Schleiden and in 1846 purchased the


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fi rst-ever microscope from Carl Zeiss, wrote the following in his textbook in 1862: “Carl Zeiss in Jena, whose simple microscopes have long enjoyed a good reputation, recently also began producing excellent compound instruments… .” His instruments also were revered outside of Germany, for example by Utrecht-based biologist Pieter Harting, who noted that “the lenses [made by Carl Zeiss] are among the best that Germany has to off er” [ 1 ]. T ese early compound microscopes oſt en varied in appearance until Zeiss developed his own particular style ( Figure 4 ). T e fi rst large instruments were based on tried-and- true microscopes [ 6 ]. Inspiration was derived primarily from the stands of Georg Johann Oberhäuser (1798–1868) and his successor Edmund Hartnack (1826–1891). Carl Zeiss made no secret of his source of inspiration, instead honoring the fi rst originator by name, as was the custom among craſt smen at the time. In the early years from 1857 until 1874, Zeiss produced eight diff erent stands (O, I, Ib, II, IIIb, IIIc, IV, V). Diff erent combinations of lens systems (A, B, C) and eyepieces (1, 2, 3, 4) could be selected. Carl Zeiss constantly sought to improve the microscope design, for instance in terms of the shape of the stand base and column. Over time, the aperture and the fi ne adjustment were also changed [ 1 ].


In 1842, Schleiden had written that key scientifi c advance- ments were only possible with such compound microscopes [ 7 ], in which early attempts at corrected objective lenses were made by combining lenses of crown and fl int glass possessing


Figure 4 : One of the earliest compound microscopes from 1862, from the collection of Timo Mappes. Photograph taken by Manfred Stich.


www.microscopy-today.com • 2017 July


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