Georgian Microscopes


Flints have now sold a number of rare and valuable Georgian microscopes to collectors, institutes, and museums worldwide. Among our notable sales was the sale of a rare George Adams microscope for £105,600 (inc Buyers Premium), a testament to the allure these instruments hold. During the Georgian era (1714 to c. 1830–1837), named after the Hanoverian kings George I, George II, George III, and George IV, microscopes underwent remarkable development, transforming into indispensable scientific tools and captivating objects of general interest. This evolution allowed individuals from various walks of life, from those with modest means to the wealthiest elites, to acquire these fascinating devices. Today, these surviving Georgian microscopes are cherished treasures eagerly sought after by collectors.

At Flints, these extraordinary microscopes make up an important part of the core of our area of expertise. In this article, we will delve into some of the exceptional Georgian microscopes that have recently graced our sales.

If you are in possession of any of the magnificent microscopes mentioned below, take this opportunity and get in touch with us today by clicking here.

A Lucernal Microscope By W & S Jones, London

This complex and delicate instrument is indeed a rare survivor. The instrument was designed to project the magnified specimen on a frosted glass plate at the rear of the mahogany pyramidical shaped body. The microscope was designed so that both transparent objects and opaque objects could be illuminated, magnified and shown to the user on the screen at the back. Another option was to project the image onto a wall or sheet of paper using the large projection lens. These instruments were used to demonstrate slides to a small audience or to be used as an artists tool.

The original design of this instrument was by George Adams. However when W & S Jones bought the company and stock of Adams they redesigned many of his instruments this being one of them. The original receipt dated 1824 suggests that this instrument was available for many years after W & S Jones took over from Adams.  

W & S Jones Lucernal Microscope

Sold for £20,000 (inc buyers premium) 24th May, 2023
Fine Instruments of Science, Medicine and Books

A Benjamin Martin Microscope & Solar Compendium

This is a microscope compendium built in around 1770 by Benjamin Martin. Martin was an eminent figure in the world of instrument making during the 18th century. Today he is recognized as one of the greatest designers and manufacturers of microscopes of his time, Martin's work left an indelible mark on the development of microscopes and optical instruments as a whole. His designs laid the foundations for microscope development well into the 19th century.

Born in 1704, Benjamin Martin initially pursued a career as a schoolmaster, where he showcased his passion for mathematics and microscopy by publishing books on these subjects. His expertise and relentless curiosity led him to establish a scientific instruments shop on Fleet Street in London. It was in this workshop that Martin revolutionized the world of microscopy with his innovative designs and relentless pursuit of precision.

Instruments that bear his name are indeed rare and highly sort after by collectors. This particular example is a compendium microscope consisting of a microscope along with all of its accessories and a solar microscope for projection all in a fitted sharkskin-covered case.

 Benjamin Martin Microscope Compendium

Sold for £32,240 (inc buyers premium) 19th November 2020
Fine Photographica & Instruments of Science