Gossip meeting “Slides of stained specimens”

Tuesday 14th August 2018

Club President Joan Bingley opened the meeting and then handed over to David Linstead for his presentation on blood vessels in skin and Victorian slides that show blood vessels.

David LinsteadDavid Linstead

David started with 3 labelled photomicrographs of unstained slides showing the structure of skin, with colours produced by using a polariser, an analyser and a retarder. He then moved on to Victorian corrosion slides showing a profusion of tiny blood vessels near the surface. Some of the corrosion slides also used red and blue dyes to colour tissues, but these dyes have faded in almost all slides. You can see the slides from David’s PowerPoint presentation here:


Click the arrows to see the next and previous slides; click the symbol at bottom right for a larger version.

After the presentation, members introduced their exhibits and then we were able to examine the slides as well as some interesting equipment.

Members examining the exhibitsMembers examining the exhibits

Lisa and Nigel Ashby brought some very nice Watson slides, and an unusual dissecting microscope that none of had seen before, a Watson Unisect.

Lisa AshbyLisa Ashby

Watson slidesWatson slides

The Watson Unisect is a dissecting microscope that can be used for viewing slides. Illumination is from an incandescent bulb below the opal glass disk. Focusing is by turning the large knurled ring on the top. It came with several lenses for different magnifications.

Watson Unisect dissecting microscopeWatson Unisect dissecting microscope

The antique Watson slide on the Unisect is one of very few in which the red and blue dyes have not faded.

Dennis Fullwood brought a boxed set of 24 human pathological preparations by Arthur C. Cole & Son; slides by A. C. Cole are not uncommon, but it is extremely unusual to see a boxed set.

Dennis FullwoodDennis Fullwood

Boxed set of A. C. Cole slidesBoxed set of A. C. Cole slides

To display some of the slides, Dennis used an A4 LED light box with ruler lines and adjustable brightness (around £10 on eBay!).

A. C. Cole slides on light panelA. C. Cole slides on light panel

David Linstead used the Club’s Watson Edinburgh to show a couple of the Victorian slides from his talk, including this C. M. Topping slide of human adipose tissue:

Slide by C. M. ToppingSlide by C. M. Topping

Watson Edinburgh microscopeWatson Edinburgh microscope

Graham Matthews brought a Prior school microscope that he has modified with a mechanical stage and adjustable LED lighting, and a box of slides.

Graham MatthewsGraham Matthews

Graham Matthews’ exhibitGraham Matthews’ exhibit

Graham bought the slides from Maurice Moss at Microscopium a few years ago, and they are unusual because most of the labels specify the stain but not the subject; most of them seem to be bits of gut.  They were all photographed with a cheap 10× objective from eBay.

Azocarmine stainAzocarmine stain [by Graham Matthews]

Heidenhains haematoxylin, showing mitosisHeidenhains haematoxylin, showing mitosis [by Graham Matthews]

Heidenhains stain, muscle tongueHeidenhains stain, muscle tongue [by Graham Matthews]

Mucin Lillie stainMucin Lillie stain [by Graham Matthews]

PAS (periodic acid–Schiff) stainPAS (periodic acid–Schiff) stain [by Graham Matthews]

Southgate’s mucin stainSouthgate’s mucin stain [by Graham Matthews]

Weigert + Van Gieson formalin depositWeigert + Van Gieson formalin deposit [by Graham Matthews]

Jacky McPherson used one of the Club’s Zeiss Standard microscopes to show slides from a PMS box of slides of plant material and plant pathogens.

Jacky McPhersonJacky McPherson

Jacky McPherson’s exhibitJacky McPherson’s exhibit

Alan Wood used another of the Club’s Zeiss Standard microscopes to show some colourful slides that he had either bought from the mounters (Colin Kirk and Mike Smith) at Penkridge, or obtained in cheap boxes at Microscopium.

Sycamore leaf-fall stem nodeAcer pseudoplatanus (sycamore) leaf-fall stem node L.S. [Flatters & Garnett]

Nightshade woody fruitSolanum sp. (nightshade) woody fruit LS, Astra blue + safranin [Colin Kirk]

Grape hyacinth flower headMuscari sp. (grape hyacinth) flower head L.S., Astra blue + safranin [Colin Kirk]

Fig stemFig stem T.S. [Biosil]

Larval tapeworm in sticklebackSchistocephalus sp. (larval tapeworm) in T.S. of stickleback fish [Biosil]

SlugSlug X.S., haematoxylin + Biebrich scarlet [Mike Smith]

EarthwormLumbricus terrestris (earthworm) V.L.S., Mallory’s triple stain [Mike Smith]

Swan musselAnodonta sp. (swan mussel) T.S.

Ascaris sp. maleAscaris sp. male T.S. [Zoological Laboratory, Bedford College]

Alan photographed his slides during the meeting, using his Canon EOS 40D camera with the Canon EF-S 60 mm macro lens at about 1:1. To support the camera, he used an Olympus Handy Copy Stand, with an LED stage plate intended for a stereomicroscope to provide transmitted light.

Olympus Handy Copy StandOlympus Handy Copy Stand

Report and photographs by Alan Wood (except where indicated)

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