Microscopically Huge Treasures

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Since the day I began to build up my collection of curiosities, there have been a few things on my mind that I’ve really wanted to obtain. Some of the things I have already found — a split nautilus shell and a 19th century medical syringe, for example — others still wait. One day, I hope, my collection will include a skull of an owl and an articulated skeletons of a hare and a snake (and, even further into the future, a complete human skeleton).  I digress.

Today I visited the Fiskars antique fair, and as a result I am very happy to announce that I can now cross over one of the things I’ve had on that list: an antique microscope.

The microscope was the second item to catch my attention (only counting the items that didn’t grossly exceed the limits of my bank account), but it was the third and the last thing that I bought. Upon first entering the area I discovered a lovely skull of a quite small cat, to which I gave a new home. And after some wandering, I laid my eyes on the microscope. Someone was looking at it very closely, but (luckily!) put it down and moved on. I, too, went to observe this item. I took a closer look at the price tag as well, swallowed nervously, and decided then that if the microscope was still there when I had browsed the rest of the area and came back, I could by it. So, I left. While browsing, I found three nice photographs and bought those as well. Then I went back for the microscope.

And, lo and behold: it was still there.

I had now obtained my own permission to buy it. And I did. I got a small discount as well without having to specifically ask for it. I also asked the seller if they knew how old this item was. They weren’t certain, but thought it might be from the early 1900’s, which is about the same I dared to hope for. I was content.

Once back at home, Taru wanted to find out more about the microscope. Using her Sherlock-esque superskills and the magic of the internet she soon discovered that this particular item seems to be a Dr. E. Hartnack Microscope #5555 — and that based on what is known about the manufacturer and the serial number, this microscope can probably be dated to years 1865-1867. It would also seem that other microscopes like this have been sold for a far higher price than what I paid for this one. Of course I am no specialist and I have no idea if the microscope I bought has some fault that makes it practically worthless, but for now it would seem that I found a real bargain.

Pictured below are the treasures I found from the antique fair. Notice that the microscope came with a few ~150 years old samples as well. Who wants to guess what sort of antique plague I’ll get from handling these?

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