An Exceptionally Fine Jones Improved, & Solar Microscope Compendium, English Circa 1798
Signed on the front of the solar microscope mounting plate ‘W. Jones, Fecit, Holborn, London’, the large solid Mahogany fitted cabinet with hinged lid opening to reveal the microscopes & accessories, at the front of the cabinet is the Jones most improved microscope and body-tube with a tapered nosepiece screwing into the end of a short arm attached to the main limb with mechanical aquatic movement via rack and pinion, stage on rack-and-pinion, sliding substage condenser above plano-concave mirror in a gimbal, the square sectioned limb mounted to tapering column via compass joint, folding splayed tripod foot, in the centre of the cabinet is the square shutter plate of the solar microscope with two adjustment keys for mechanical rotation and adjustment of the large rectangular mirror, conical body tube into which screws the barrel for transparent objects with a sprung stage, rack work focusing with brass slider condenser lenses numbered 1, 2 & 3, for opaque objects a separate attachment with sprung slide mount with adjustable internal mirror, cabinet fitted with a very comprehensive collection of accessories and lenses, cabinet further fitted with Lucernal microscope accessories, drawer in base of cabinet opens to reveal an impressive array of original opaque and transparent slides with original hand written list of all contents.
Dimensions: Case width – 48cm, Case depth – 38cm
This is the largest and most complete set by Jones that we have ever seen at any sale or in any collection, private or public. The set would have been the best and most expensive produced by the company
An interesting point of this microscope is the signature of just W. Jones. It is known that the company of W & S Jones bought the stock of the late George Adams after his death in 1795. This particular design of microscope was originally designed by Adams then later adapted by Jones as the well known and recognised ‘Jones Most Improved’. However, at the time of buying Adams stock the company was trading under the name W & S Jones so how this instrument has come to be signed just W. Jones remains a mystery.
William Jones (1763–1831)
was an English Scientific instrument maker. William and later with his brother, Samuel, formed one of the most successful scientific instrument companies of the late 18th and early 19th century – W & S Jones.
1776 – John Jones (b1736 – d1808) was trading as an optician the Holborn area of London. His sone William was his apprentice.
1782 – Jones appears to have set up business by himself.
1784 – Jones goes into business with his father.
1791 – Williams younger brother Samual joins the company on his fathers retirement and the name changes to W. & S. Jones.
1800 – The company moves to new premises across the road at 30 Holborn. The firm continues to trade at that address until the death of Samuel in 1859.