Gossip meeting “Hand lenses & their uses”

Tuesday 19th June 2018

Quekett members can often be seen using hand lenses at sales events (checking the condition of second-hand slides and objectives) and on excursions and residential weekends (seeing what their plankton nets have retrieved, or observing rocks, lichens, mosses, plants, insects and so on). We don’t usually pay much attention to them, a situation that this gossip meeting aimed to improve.

Chris Thomas recorded brief interviews with several Quekett members, and you can see them at the end of this report.

Club President Joan Bingley opened the meeting and later told us about her exhibit. She bought her favourite lens for bryology a couple of years ago, a 14× 3-element achromat-aplanat with built-in LED illumination made by Erich Zimmermann, a retired Swiss watchmaker. Erich does not have a website, but Lichen candelaris PDF datasheets about his lenses are available. Erich’s lenses are expensive, so Joan also carries a couple of cheap hand lenses from eBay for when people ask her what she is looking at.

Joan BingleyJoan Bingley

Joan Bingley’s exhibitJoan Bingley’s exhibit

Joan also showed 4 Bausch & Lomb hand lenses, 10× and 20× Coddington and Hastings models. The Coddington lenses are cheaper and have a single-lens construction (no condensation between elements), but a narrow field of view and they are not achromatic or aplanatic. The Hastings lenses are more expensive, achromatic and aplanatic, and have a wider field of view, but in high humidity conditions there can be condensation between the elements. The mounts of the 20× lenses are also inconveniently small, particularly the Hastings

Joan Bingley’s Bausch & Lomb lensesJoan Bingley’s Bausch & Lomb lenses

Kit Brownlee brought a linen tester, a folding 8× hand lens, a flat Fresnel lens, and some clear acrylic boxes (1.5×1.5″) with a 3× magnifier in the top.

Kit BrownleeKit Brownlee

The acrylic boxes contained amber, haematite crystals and nummulites, and Kit also brought fronds of maidenhair and polypody ferns with immature sori.

Kit Brownlee’s exhibitKit Brownlee’s exhibit

The magnifying boxes are available from the UKGE Ltd website.

Dennis Fullwood brought several modern Chinese magnifiers including a large version of a linen tester, some folding and fixed magnifiers with and without built-in LED illumination, and some flat Fresnel lenses that he was giving away.

Dennis FullwoodDennis Fullwood

Dennis Fullwood’s exhibitDennis Fullwood’s exhibit

To try out the lenses, Dennis brought several pieces of polished Baltic amber containing insects and some antique slides of whole arthropods by Fred Enock and Richard Suter.

Dennis Fullwood’s slidesDennis Fullwood’s slides

On a recent visit to north-west Scotland looking at rocks and geological features, Pam Hamer visited a quarry at Aultivullin and collected a piece of borolanite (a nephaline syenite). Examining the rock at the quarry with a hand lens, Pam noticed gold-coloured flecks, although the rock is not supposed to contain either real gold or iron pyrites.

Pam HamerPam Hamer

Pam brought a stacked photomicrograph of the gold flecks (taken with her stereomicroscope) and a piece of rock for us to examine with her linen tester, folding Ruper magnifier with 10× and 15× lenses, and a Chinese 10× folding magnifier with built-in LED illumination.

Pam Hamer’s exhibitPam Hamer’s exhibit

Pam finds the linen tester useful for photography; the base can be held against the subject and a smartphone or simple camera held just above the lens.

Irma Irsara brought an interesting book, A beautiful question: Finding nature’s deep design by Frank Wilczek.

Irma IrsaraIrma Irsara

Irma also showed a stacked photograph of an orchid cuckoo wasp by Levon Biss, printed on a brushed aluminium sheet by Genesis Imaging.

Irma Irsara’s exhibitIrma Irsara’s exhibit

You can see a much better quality image of the orchid cuckoo wasp on Levon Biss’s website.

Andy King brought an old and fragile magnifier with 3 folding lenses that can be used in various combinations to provide different magnifications

Andy KingAndy King

Jacky McPherson brought some specimens for viewing with a hand lens, a polished fossil ammonite, a Deutzia leaf, some grass and some flowers.

Jacky McPhersonJacky McPherson

Jacky McPherson’s exhibitJacky McPherson’s exhibit

Ken Merrifield brought a selection of old and modern hand lenses, some graph paper (good for checking field flatness and curvature), and a male cranefly (Tipula sp.). The character used to separate males of T. oleracea and T. paludosa is the number of segments in the antennae, and a really good lens is needed.

Kit Brownlee and Ken MerrifieldKit Brownlee and Ken Merrifield

Ken Merrifield’s exhibitKen Merrifield’s exhibit

Ken’s lenses were: (a) Beck achromatic double lens 20× and 10×, (b) ‘hammer’ pattern 10× doublet lens c. 1960s, (c) Opticron 20× doublet lens, (d) Leech lens “Aplanat 15× triple”, (e, f & g) a variety of lenses available on eBay with built-in LED illumination, the largest (g) including an additional UV LED

Ken Merrifield’s lensesKen’s lenses [by Ken Merrifield]

Maurice Moss showed the folding hand lens that he always carries with him, a large Japanese Ruper with 8× and 15× lenses and a well-worn leather case.

Maurice Moss’s exhibitMaurice Moss’s exhibit

Paul Smith brought 6 of his hand lenses. They were a 20× folding magnifier (from the Russian TOE shop that used to be in High Holborn), a folding Gowlland 8× (bought when he was a teenager), a spare folding 10×, a Belomo 10× folding triplet bought at a model engineering exhibition), a Chinese folding magnifier with an exaggerated 40× magnification and unreliable LED illumination, and a circular magnifier with rotating lenses for a range of magnifications.

Paul SmithPaul Smith

Paul Smith’s exhibitPaul Smith’s exhibit

John Tolliday brought several tubes of specimens for observing with a hand lens, one containing flour infested with mites and the others containing various types of sand.

John TollidayJohn Tolliday

John also brought a grain size scale, available from Geo Supplies Ltd.

John Tolliday’s exhibitJohn Tolliday’s exhibit

Alan Wood showed 5 lenses, including his favourite, a folding 8× Gowlland from the dissecting kit he bought in 1964 for A Level zoology. The others were a small folding Japanese Ruper with 10× and 15× lenses (used by Alan’s father for examining stamps), a German 10× achromat with a focusing mount and measuring scale in 0.1 mm intervals, a promotional 8× Agfa loupe for examining slides or negatives, and a promotional Fresnel lens from the AES Bug Club.

Alan Wood’s exhibitAlan Wood’s exhibit

Interviews

During the meeting, Chris Thomas filmed these short interviews with several Quekett members.

Chris Thomas interviewing Joan BingleyChris Thomas interviewing Joan Bingley

Interview with Joan Bingley
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Interview with Kit Brownlee
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Interview with Irma Irsara
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Interview with Irma Irsara
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Interview with Andy King
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Interview with Graham Matthews
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Interview with Ken Merrifield
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Interview with Maurice Moss
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Interview with Paul Smith
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Interview with Bill Varley
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Report and most photographs by Alan Wood

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