PMS Annual General Meeting

Saturday 13th May 2017

The 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Postal Microscopical Society was held as usual in Turville Memorial Hall in Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire, about 10 minutes’ drive from Junction 20 of the M1. Lots of Quekett members also belong to the PMS, so there was no shortage of familiar faces.

Turville Memorial HallTurville Memorial Hall

The morning was given over to exhibits, sales and gossip, with tables all round the main hall and overflowing into the committee room, followed by the AGM. After a break for either a packed lunch or lunch in The Bell Inn across the road, there were 3 presentations.


Steve Durr brought his Zeiss Standard so that we could examine a slide of the roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides L. showing mitosis in the egg cell. Steve also provided notes on the worm and mitosis.

Steve Durr’s exhibitSteve Durr’s exhibit

Steve Durr, Jacky McPherson and John RhodesSteve Durr (left), Jacky McPherson and John Rhodes

John Fletcher showed a black and brass Watson Royal microscope complete with box, objectives and eyepieces. He set it up with a 2-inch Holos objective so that we could admire several slides prepared by J. T. Norman. Illumination was provided by a battery-powered LED lamp held in a retort stand.

John Fletcher’s exhibitJohn Fletcher’s exhibit

J. T. Norman slide on Watson Royal microscope stageJ. T. Norman slide on Watson Royal microscope stage

John also brought a box of nosepieces, free to a good home.

Mike Gibson displayed slides (including an 8-form test plate of diatoms by Klaus Kemp and t.s. of Wisteria seed pod showing the unusual stone cells) on his laptop, with the image produced by a small digital camera. The microscope was a Lomo МБС-1Е resting on a Zeiss base. The head was an unusual one from Reichert, with one inclined tube for viewing and one vertical tube for a camera, with a knob to send the image to one or the other.

Mike Gibson’s exhibitMike Gibson’s exhibit

Illumination came from a small hemispherical LED fed from a Poundland powerbank, as shown at Penkridge by Colin Kirk. The light is very bright, so Mike used a baffle to shield the viewer from it.

USB-powered LED illuminatorUSB-powered LED illuminator

Les Larkman used the same LED illuminator, with his black and brass E. Leitz microscope and a Biosil slide of liver.

Les LarkmanLes Larkman

Les Larkman’s exhibitLes Larkman’s exhibit

Photomicrographs of Les Larkman’s slidePhotomicrographs of Les Larkman’s slide

Colin Lamb showed a circular LED illuminator that he had made, useful for viewing slides under a stereomicroscope.

Circular LED illuminatorCircular LED illuminator

Colin was working on a new device during the meeting.

Colin LambColin Lamb

Stephen Parker showed sections of fossil bones, mostly from dinosaurs, under partially-crossed polarisers to reveal more detail. He used his Leica DM500 binocular microscope with an internal ICC50 camera feeding an Eyoyo monitor.

Stephen Parker’s exhibitStephen Parker’s exhibit

Stephen Parker and Spike WalkerStephen Parker (standing) and Spike Walker

Robert Ratford brought his Meiji EMT stereomicroscope so that we could have a close look at his locusts, millepedes and stick insects, which we were also able to handle.

Robert Ratford and Spike WalkerRobert Ratford (left) and Spike Walker

Locust hopperLocust hopper


We are looking forward to seeing more of Robert’s menagerie at the Eastbrookend Country Park meeting that he is organising on Saturday 27th May 2017.


John Birds brought a binocular Meopta microscope with circular and square stages, 4×, 10×, 20×, 45× and 100× objectives, 6×, 8× and 10× eyepieces and a dark-ground condenser, complete with its instructions and wooden box.

Binocular Meopta microscopeBinocular Meopta microscope

Lawrence Hartley was selling not only books but also some early digital cameras, large brass sieves, a metronome (for timing long exposures?), an Oertling balance, Pyrex test tubes and wooden trays for displaying coins.

Derek Haworth, Lawrence Hartley and Mo VaughanDerek Haworth, Lawrence Hartley and Mo Vaughan

John Judson had some heads, mechanical stages, objectives, eyepieces, etcetera from Zeiss, CTS and other manufacturers.

John Judson’s accessoriesJohn Judson’s accessories

Chris Kennedy had a few microscopes for sale to raise funds for the RMS Schools Microscope Fund, including a Vickers M12 metallurgical, a small Orlon stereomicroscope, a monocular Swift M3200 and a binocular Swift.

Chris Kennedy and Ray SlossChris Kennedy (centre) and Ray Sloss

Vickers M12 metallurgical microscopeVickers M12 metallurgical microscope

Colin Lamb was selling a Watson stereomicroscope with 3 pairs of objectives (0.6×, 1.25× and 5×) and 2 pairs of eyepieces (10× and 14×) on a very heavy boom stand with a geared horizontal arm. He demonstrated it with a home-made circular LED illuminator that worked well with slides.

Watson stereomicroscope on boom standWatson stereomicroscope on boom stand

Colin was also selling a Beck microtome, an un-branded phase condenser, a Zeiss pancratic condenser, and a grey Zeiss Amplival microscope. To demonstrate the Amplival, he used a slide of a fairy fly (Camptoptera papaveris Förster) made by C. H. Ison.

Zeiss Amplival microscopeZeiss Amplival microscope

Geoff and Pauline Mould brought the Quekett shop-in-a-box and were selling books, binders, ties and (for the first time) Quekett-branded USB sticks containing volumes 1–41 of the Quekett Journal of Microscopy, the full set of the Newsletter, an old test database of the Caffyn slides in the Club’s collection, and several other items.

Pauline Mould with the Quekett shopPauline Mould with the Quekett shop [by Robert Ratford]

Geoff Mould, Mick Chaplin and Peter MassingtonGeoff Mould (left), Mick Chaplin and Peter Massington

Quekett-branded USB sticks with the Journal and the NewsletterQuekett-branded USB sticks with the Journal and the Newsletter

Stephen Parker did not manage to sell a faulty trinocular Olympus BHS with a set of DPlan objectives at Microscopium, but it has since been lubricated and now works perfectly, and it found a buyer today.

Trinocular Olympus BHS microscopeTrinocular Olympus BHS microscope [by Robert Ratford]

Mike Samworth and Steve Gill were selling Biosil and other slides for 70p each, back numbers of Balsam Post, The Microscope and Micro Miscellanea, slide boxes, a binocular Cooke, Troughton & Simms M2000 complete in its wooden box and a matching phase condenser with objectives, several Watson stands, an Olympus binocular head, and some DVDs (including Atlas der Diatomaceenkunde).

Slides and journals for saleJournals and slides for sale

Cooke, Troughton & Simms M2000 microscopeCooke, Troughton & Simms M2000 microscope

Watson stands and slide boxesWatson stands and old slide boxes

Olympus binocular head and some DVDsOlympus binocular head and some DVDs

Just for fun, Steve Gill showed a Watson microscope lamp using a lamp holder intended for use with empty wine bottles:

Watson microscope lampWatson microscope lamp

Mike Smith had a left and right pair of Singer micromanipulators for sale, and a simple lamp free to a good home.

Singer micromanipulatorsSinger micromanipulators and a simple lamp

Mo Vaughan quickly sold a Cambridge rocking microtome.


Optical illusions & the microscope

Mike Gibson explained that optical illusions create a miscommunication between our eyes and brain, making us see things that are not really there or not see things that are right in front of us. There are 3 main types: literal optical illusions that create images different from the objects that make them; physiological illusions that are the effects of excessive stimulation of a specific type (brightness, colour, size, position, tilt, movement); and cognitive illusions, the result of unconscious thought processes in the brain.

Mike Gibson’s presentationMike Gibson’s presentation

Mike showed us some fascinating images that you can see in this Powerpoint presentation:

Click the arrows to page though the slides, click the symbol at bottom right for a bigger (and slower) version.

Investigating shieldbugs and other things

Mick Chaplin showed us a video that he had made of green shieldbugs (Palomena prasina (L.)), a  hawthorn shieldbug (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale (L.)), a red-legged shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes (L.)), a cinnamon bug (Corizus hyoscyami (L.)) and some caddis larvae.

Click the arrow at bottom left to watch the video (19 minutes); click the symbol to the left of “vimeo” for full screen

Correction to the video: The final development stage of the two Green Shieldbugs is adult, not 4th instar.

Oh no! It’s Steve Gill again

The Quekett has nearly run out of DVDs containing the Quekett Journal of Microscopy, and Steve Gill has been busy developing an enhanced replacement on a USB memory stick. You no longer need a DVD drive or multiple discs, the whole of volumes 1–41 fits on the stick, and Steve has added simple and advanced search facilities. Volumes 1–21 of the Newsletter (forerunner of the Bulletin) are also included, along with several miscellaneous items. Everything can be accessed from the stick, or its contents can be copied to a hard disk for faster access. And it costs only £10.

Steve Gill’s presentationSteve Gill’s presentation

Article in the Quekett Journal of MicroscopyArticle in the Quekett Journal of Microscopy


The Quekett Microscopical Club provided a grant towards the cost of this event, as part of its remit as a charity to promote microscopy.

Report and most photographs by Alan Wood

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