Microscopium – The Microscopists’ Fair

Thursday 19th August 2021

The usual venue for the Quekett’s annual sale of microscopes and related items in St Albans is too small to allow for the social distancing that is part of Covid-19 precautions, so this year we moved a few miles east to the main hall of the Elm Court Youth and Community Centre in Potters Bar. In addition to providing members and visitors with a good opportunity to dispose of surplus items and to acquire new kit, Microscopium provides an excellent opportunity to meet old friends, make new friends, and gossip over tea and coffee and over lunch. This was our first face-to-face meeting for over 18 months, so there was a lot of catching up to do.

Elm CourtElm Court

Main hall at Elm CourtMain hall at Elm Court

We asked everyone to wear a face covering (several people were exempt), and to sign in with their name and telephone number (in case anyone reported being Covid-positive within the next 10 days). Buyers were not allowed in until 10:00 a.m., to allow sellers an hour to set up without crowding. Tables were well spaced out, and a limit of 3 buyers per table was enforced. Tea and coffee were available in the reception area outside the main hall, also helping to avoid crowding.

You never know what to expect at Microscopium, and this year there were over a dozen trinocular compound microscopes, several phase contrast outfits,  fibre optic illuminators and C-mount adapters, but not many books. By 1:00 p.m. lots of things had been sold and most sellers were packing up and departing.

As usual, many used microscopes, lenses, accessories, slides, books, etcetera were offered at reasonable prices for the benefit of amateur microscopists. These items, and any items that are given away, must NOT be subsequently sold on eBay at great profit, and anyone found doing so will not be welcome at future meetings.

Lisa and Nigel Ashby were selling a couple of items of their own but mostly items for the Club, including two stereomicroscopes, a Lomo polarising microscope, a Lomo phase contrast set, some condensers, eyepieces and objectives, lamps, a transformer, a filar micrometer eyepiece and four crates of books.

Lisa and Nigel AshbyLisa and Nigel Ashby

Lisa Ashby and Steve GillLisa Ashby and Steve Gill

Lisa and Nigel Ashby’s standLisa and Nigel Ashby’s stand

Lisa and Nigel Ashby’s booksSome of Lisa and Nigel Ashby’s books

Joan Bingley had a heavy Leitz 1512 rotary microtome for sale, also a Watson microscope, a Beck lamp, plastic fish tanks, hand tools, bottles of chemicals including stains, mountants and ringing cements, some books and some camera accessories.

Nigel Ashby admiring Joan Bingley’s microtomeNigel Ashby admiring Joan Bingley’s microtome

Joan Bingley’s chemicalsSome of Joan Bingley’s chemicals

Gordon Brown’s items included a monocular Beck 47, a monocular Vickers M14, a binocular Zeiss Jena, and the arm and stage of a Leitz microscope.

Don Edwards, who used to run the Antique Scientific Instrument Fair, had a couple of brass microscopes with their wooden cases for sale, also an interesting slide vacuuming chamber, and some amber from Kaliningrad on the Baltic with insects in which created quite a lot of interest.

Don Edwards and Matt NunnDon Edwards and Matt Nunn (Flints Auctions’ specialist in scientific instruments, right)

Steve Gill and Mike Samworth were selling prepared slides at £1 or £2 each, microscopes including a brass Leitz monocular and a black and chrome Watson Kima, and new copies of PALOMENA PRASINA: The Green Shield Bug by Mike Chaplin, Steve Gill, Colin Kirk, Simon Kirk, Jeremy Poole, Mike Samworth & Mike Smith, Horace George Barber’s Miscellaneous Diatom Plates, and Mounting, a 2-volume collection of papers by Ernie Ives.

Mike SamworthMike Samworth (right)

PALOMENA PRASINA and Horace George Barber’s Miscellaneous Diatom PlatesPALOMENA PRASINA and Horace George Barber’s Miscellaneous Diatom Plates

Phil Greaves had tables overflowing with objectives, eyepieces, lamps, transformers and other accessories from makers including Baker, Beck, Lomo, Meopta, Olympus (including analysers and tint plates), Reichert, Vickers, Wild and Zeiss, some monocular microscopes, a Lensman portable microscope, some unused NBS slide making kits, trays of large brain sections, lots of sets of slides of all sorts of specimens, some books, lots of filters that had belonged to Tony Dutton, a tripod and some measuring equipment. Phil was also giving away lots of Japanese, German and English microscope literature from Hampshire Micro that had been donated by Dave Routledge. After lunch, Phil reduced all of the prices by 50% so that he had less to take back home.

Phil Greaves with visitors to his tablesPhil Greaves (left) with visitors to his tables

Phil Greaves’ trays of accessoriesPhil Greaves’ trays of accessories

Phil Greaves’ slide sets, books, etceteraPhil Greaves’ slide sets, books, etcetera

Chris Kennedy and Terry Cooper were selling a binocular Reichert microscope, large wooden boxes with lots of Reichert equipment, some brass microscopes, a modern monocular microscope, a Beck 35mm microscope camera, lots of books on microscopes and cameras, and some old cameras.

Chris KennedyTerry Cooper and Chris Kennedy (right)

John Millham had 4 tables overflowing with desirable equipment including over a dozen trinocular compound microscopes from Leitz (Diaplan, DM2000), Nikon (Eclipse E400 with plan apos), Olympus (BHS, BX40, BX40 with phase contrast) and Zeiss (Axioplan). He also had some nice stereomicroscopes, including a Wild M5A (with dome cover), a Wild M3C on a very sturdy table clamp, an Olympus SZ30, and a trinocular Olympus SZH10 with 1.2× DFPlanApo objective. As usual, John also had a good assortment of Leitz, Nikon and Zeiss objectives and eyepieces, as well as some fibre optic illuminators, camera adapters, an Olympus digital microscope camera, etcetera. Several of the microscopes are still available, so if you are interested please contact John Millham.

John MillhamJohn Millham extolling the virtues of a Wild M5A stereomicroscope

John Millham’s microscopesJohn Millham’s microscopes

John Millham’s objectives, eyepieces, camera adapters, fibre optics and accessoriesSome of John Millham’s objectives, eyepieces, camera adapters, fibre optics and accessories

Brian Norman had all sorts of items for sale, including a Philip Harris microprojector, a black Leitz trinocular, a black and chrome CTS binocular polarising microscope, a stereomicroscope, a couple of brass microscopes, lots of brass lenses, a phase contrast condenser, a motorised stage for an Olympus BX, sets of slides (including some by T. J. Slatter, recently discussed in QuekettMicro on Facebook), several accessories and adapters, some books and a centrifuge.

Paul Smith and Jacky McPherson with Brian NormanPaul Smith and Jacky McPherson with Brian Norman (right)

Brian Norman with some of his microscopesBrian Norman (standing) with some of his microscopes and a centrifuge

Brian Norman’s slides and accessoriesSome of Brian Norman’s slides and accessories

Stephen Parker had various items for sale, including a student microscope, a Beck phase contrast set, Zeiss Jena Epi-DIC attachment and Interference set, Zeiss Interphako bits, a Reichert condenser, a Reichert Zetopan circular stage, an Olympus DP-10 microscope camera, and C-mount adapters for Nikon and Zeiss microscopes. Stephen also had boxes of items for which he was inviting offers.

Stephen ParkerStephen Parker (left)

David Peston usually sells mostly Leitz equipment, but this year he had lots of Olympus equipment, including BHS, BHT, BHTU and CH-20 stands, several eyepieces for  CH-2 and BH-2 microscopes, boxes of DPlan and SPlan objectives from 4× to 100×, and accessories including flip-top condensers, a Photomicro Adapter L, a 6-position BH-2 nosepiece, an MTV-3 C-mount adapter, a U-SPT photo tube, PE 2.5× and NFK 3.3× photo eyepieces, and a B-AN analyser. He also had one Leitz stand, a box of Leitz objectives, some slide sets, and lots of bulbs and filters.

Mike Gibson choosing items from David PestonMike Gibson (right) choosing items from David Peston

David Peston’s Leitz and Zeiss objectivesDavid Peston’s Leitz and Olympus objectives

The Quekett Shop was selling books, binders, ties and the Journal archive on a USB drive, and giving away issues of the Journal.

Quekett ShopQuekett Shop

Derek Sayers of Reco Laboratory Services was selling a Vickers M14 metallurgical microscope, some black and brass and black and chrome monoculars, a Carton shop microscope, some brass objectives, lots of parts and adapters, and some tool kits.

Derek Sayers and his sales tableDerek Sayers and his sales table

Mark Shephard was selling a binocular CTS with phase contrast, a grey monocular Beck 57, and several sets of slides, including some microphotographs by Dancer.

Mark Shephard’s slide setsMark Shephard’s slide sets

Harry Taylor’s offerings included a simple Zeiss inverted microscope, a Zeiss transformer, two Wild stands, a very sturdy table clamp stand for a stereomicroscope, fibre optics illuminators, some slides, and several camera accessories.

Harry TaylorHarry Taylor

Harry Taylor’s itemsSome of Harry Taylor’s items

Chris Thomas had a binocular Biolam microscope, objectives and phase contrast condenser, two telescopes, an overhead projector, a Praktica 35mm SLR camera, and a few new copies of Understanding and Using the Light Microscope by Chris Thomas & Lewis Woolnough.

Spike Walker was selling several Zeiss items including a black trinocular Standard,  a grey binocular Standard, lots of smaller items, and a grey monocular Beck 6000.

Jacky McPherson and Gordon Brown with Spike WalkerJacky McPherson and Gordon Brown with Spike Walker (seated)

Peter Wilcox was offering a trinocular Olympus BHSP polarising microscope, complete with polarizing intermediate attachment, centering nosepiece, strain-free objectives, rotating stage and the hard-to-find Photomicro Adapter L.

Olympus BHSP polarising microscopeOlympus BHSP polarising microscope

Zoom broadcast

We are planning to make Zoom broadcasts part of many of our meetings, and this was our first experiment. Paul Smith set up a camera just inside the entrance to the hall and recorded this video:

Click the arrow to start the video; click the symbol to the left of “vimeo” for a larger version


Our thanks to Mark Shephard, Stephen Parker and Lisa Ashby for successfully organising Microscopium at a new venue, with some very happy buyers and sellers, and to those who put out and packed away the tables and chairs.

Report and photographs by Alan Wood

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