Gossip meeting “My favourite microscopy book”

Saturday 14th January 2017

By Mark Papp

Over twenty members attended the “My favourite microscopy book” gossip meeting, in the PA135 Meeting Room at the Natural History Museum in London.


Sixteen members brought books with them, from old to new with everything in between; a couple of people used Club microscopes to enhance their displays.

Joan Bingley’s copy of “Illustrated Guide to British Mosses12” just beat Maurice Moss’s copy of “Rust, Smut, Mildew, & Mould6” into first place in the unofficial “Most plates detached from the spine of the book” competition.

Illustrated Guide to British MossesIllustrated Guide to British Mosses12

Maurice MossMaurice Moss

Rust, Smut, Mildew, & MouldRust, Smut, Mildew, & Mould: An Introduction to the Study of Microscopic Fungi6

Tim Newton’s deconstructed volume of plates from “Le Diatomiste”, with its beautifully hand-written descriptions should have been a shoo in, but for the fact that the mounted copies of the plates were worthy of display on their own. He was disqualified for this reason, and his beautiful modern facsimile of Hooke’s “Micrographia” was, fortunately, in excellent condition.

Tim NewtonTim Newton

Volume 1 Plate 1 from Le DiatomisteVolume 1 Plate 1 from Le Diatomiste

Micrographia NovaMicrographia Nova

Robert Ratford’s creative use of objective lenses won him the “Creative use of microscopical equipment” competition. There was no opposition as his objective paperweights held a page of the plates volume of his “The Micrographic Dictionary10” open at a particularly attractive plate.

Robert RatfordRobert Ratford

Micrographic DictionaryThe Micrographic Dictionary10

Roger Delpech’s brought along two books – his 4th edition of “Peacock’s Elementary Microtechnique3” was won as a school prize. The sad part is that his actual prize was an earlier edition which has been lost. His other choice was “Practical Pollination Biology7”.

Roger DelpechRoger Delpech

Norman Chapman brought along his own book, “Pollen Microscopy4”.

Norman ChapmanNorman Chapman

There were several duplications, most noted being a brace of copies of Brian Bracegirdle’s “Microscopical Mounts and Mounters2”, brought along by Nigel Williams and Dr Mary Morris, who’d also brought along Dobson et al’s “Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates8”. Nigel brought along some slides in the hope that Quekett members might be able to help him identify their makers, which hadn’t been found in Dr Bracegirdle’s book.

Nigel WilliamsNigel Williams

After posting an image in the QuekettMicro Facebook Group, one of Nigel’s mystery slides was identified by Brian Stevenson as donated to the Club by M. C. Cooke (and presumably made by him), slide D7, sori of Acrophorus hispidus. Brian located it on page 27 in the Catalogue of Microscopical Preparations, published in volume III (1872–1874) of The Journal of the Quekett Microscopical Club.

M. C. Cooke slide of sori of Acrophorus hispidusM. C. Cooke slide of sori of Acrophorus hispidus [by Pam H.]

Mary MorrisMary Morris

Pam H. used one of the Club’s polarising microscopes to show a thin section of rock; I don’t know whether her books “A Colour Atlas of Rocks and Minerals in Thin Section14” and “Guide to Thin Section Microscopy15” allowed her to confirm its identity. Pam was, incidentally, the only exhibitor with an E-book as part of her display.

Pam HamerPam H.

Pam Hamer’s displayPam H.’s display

Stephen Parker had brought along a Cooke, Troughton & Simms (CTS) catalogue, and  a “Silverman’s Microscope Illuminator”, as listed. He’d also brought along a microfilm copy of the Bible, legible only through a microscope!

Stephen ParkerStephen Parker

Stephen Parker’s displayStephen Parker’s display

Silverman’s Microscope IlluminatorSilverman’s Microscope Illuminator

My favourite book(s)? Jacky McPherson’s two Postal Microscopical Society notebooks written by my favourite mounter, E. D. Evens. These were loaned to her by Steve Gill, as part of Jacky’s ongoing project to catalogue the Quekett’s collection of EDE slides. She has transcribed and cross referenced the notebooks (and slides, I think), which is a worthy project; I look forward to reading her forthcoming paper in the Quekett Journal.

Jacky McPhersonJacky McPherson

Postal Microscopical Society notebook 302Postal Microscopical Society notebook 302

I think my book won the prize for best title. I discovered William Saville Kent’s “A Manual of the Infusoria: including a description of all known Lagellate, Ciliate, and Tentaculiferous Protozoa, British and Foreign, and an Account of the Organisation and Affinities of the Sponges13”.

Mark PappMark Papp [by Jacky McPherson]

A Manual of the InfusoriaA Manual of the Infusoria13

David Linstead brought the book that influenced him the most, “The Microscope Made Easy16”, and the one that he is currently most enjoying being informed by, “The Methods of Microscopical Research5”.

David LinsteadDavid Linstead

Dennis Fullwood brought “A History of Microtechnique1” and “The Man Who Ate the Zoo9”.

Dennis FullwoodDennis Fullwood

Paul Smith brought two books that had a profound effect on his start in microscopy, “The Microscope Made Easy16” and “How to Use the Microscope11”.

Paul SmithPaul Smith

The Microscope Made EasyThe Microscope Made Easy16

It was another enjoyable meeting; I now have many more books on my buy list. One has already been bought, so I can now cross Norman Chapman’s off it!

Report and photographs by Mark Papp

Our favourite microscopy books

Some of these books are available in the Club’s library for members to borrow; the letters and numbers in square brackets are the library codes.

  1. Bracegirdle, B. (1978), A History of Microtechnique: The Evolution of the Microtome and the Development of Tissue Preparation, Heinemann Educational Books [E 49]
  2. Bracegirdle, B. (1998), Microscopical Mounts and Mounters, Quekett Microscopical Club (ISBN 0-9514441-3-1)
  3. Bradbury, S., Peacock’s Elementary Microtechnique, Edward Arnold [M 110]
  4. Chapman, N. (2015), Pollen Microscopy, CMI Publishing (ISBN 978-1-907092-10-7)
  5. Cole, A. C. (ed. 2, 1895), The Methods of Microscopical Research: A Practical Guide to Microscopical Manipulation, Baillière, Tindall & Cox
  6. Cooke, M. C. (ed. 6, 1902), Rust, Smut, Mildew, & Mould: An Introduction to the Study of Microscopic Fungi, W. H. Allen
  7. Dafni, A., Kevan, P. G. & Husband, B. C. (2005), Practical Pollination Biology, Enviroquest (ISBN 0-9680123-0-7)
  8. Dobson, M., Pawley, S., Fletcher, M. & Powell, A. (2012), Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates, Freshwater Biological Association (ISBN 978-0-900386-80-0)
  9. Girling, R. (2016), The Man Who Ate the Zoo: Frank Buckland, Forgotten Hero of Natural History, Chatto & Windus (ISBN 978-1784740405)
  10. Griffith, J. W. & Henfrey, A. (ed. 3, 1875), The Micrographic Dictionary; A Guide to the Examination and Investigation of the Structure and Nature of Microscopic Objects, John Van Voorst [F 68]
  11. Hall, C. A. & Linsenn, A. F. (ed. 5), How to Use the Microscope: A Guide for the Novice, A. & C. Black [A 9]
  12. Jameson, H. G., Illustrated Guide to British Mosses; with Keys to the Genera and Species, (self-published)
  13. Kent, W. S. (1880–1882), A Manual of the Infusoria: Including a Description of All Known Lagellate, Ciliate, and Tentaculiferous Protozoa, British and Foreign, and an Account of the Organisation and Affinities of the Sponges, David Bogue
  14. MacKenzie, W. S. & Adams A. E. (1994), A Colour Atlas of Rocks and Minerals in Thin Section, Manson Publishing (ISBN 978-1874545170)
  15. Raith, M. M., Raase, E. & Jürgen, R. (ed. 2, 2012), Guide to Thin Section Microscopy, Mineralogical Society of America (ISBN 978-3-00-037671-9, free PDF)
  16. Wells, A. L., The Microscope Made Easy, Frederick Warne [A 18]

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