Microscopium – The Microscopists’ Fair

Saturday 12th August 2023

Our first Microscopium at Letchworth Settlement in 2022 was a success, so we returned for the 2023 event. As always, Microscopium provided members and visitors with a good opportunity to dispose of surplus items and to acquire new kit, and also provided an excellent opportunity to meet old friends, make new friends, and gossip over tea and coffee and over lunch. An overtime ban on the trains and the ever-increasing cost of petrol may have kept some people away, but we still had a good crowd of buyers. As usual, there were bargains ranging from filters and bulbs for £1 to slide cabinets, a trinocular Zeiss PrimoStar and a huge Reichert Zetopan outfit.

Letchworth SettlementLetchworth Settlement

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.

We filled the main room, Kincaid Hall, with tables, and needed to overflow across the yard into the Spinks Room.

Lisa and Nigel Ashby were selling microscopes and a few accessories; most of the microscopes were brass or black-and-brass Watsons.

Lisa Ashby and Chris KennedyLisa Ashby and Chris Kennedy

Nigel AshbyNigel Ashby (centre)

Gordon Brown was selling a Zeiss Photomicroscope, a Baker petrological microscope on a special base with a high-power lamp, a couple of Baker interference microscopes and a few other items.

Gordon Brown’s sales tableGordon Brown’s sales table

Gordon was also acquiring microscopes for the Anglian Microscopy Group, including Kyowa and Meiji stereos and an Olympus BHTU. He also acquired lots of rock thin sections, a box of miscellaneous metalware to make camera adapters from, and some nice histology slides including the brain sections shown below:

Brain sectionsBrain sections [photo by Gordon Brown]

Douglas Downer-Smith had an Olympus phase contrast condenser and objectives for the E/F microscopes, a nice clean binocular head and 10× eyepieces for the Olympus BH, an Olympus PM-LSD Trans-Illuminator with its transformer, some filters and empty objective cases, slide sets, and several other items.

Douglas Downer-SmithDouglas Downer-Smith

Trevor Emmett and his son Jack were selling some of his slides of thin rock sections, two wooden slide cabinets, cavity slides, magnifiers, a trinocular Zeiss PrimoStar, and a polarising version of a binocular Nikon Labophot.

Trevor EmmettTrevor Emmett (left)

Trevor Emmett’s slidesTrevor Emmett’s slides

Mike Gibson was selling a black and chrome Watson Bactil microscope with its wooden case, and lots of empty slide boxes.

Mike Gibson’s sales tableMike Gibson’s sales table

Phil Greaves was selling items from the estates of Peter Ryall, Ray Parkinson,John Tuer and Klaus Kemp, and from other sources. They included trays full of objectives, eyepieces, condensers, nosepieces and heads from Baker, CTS, Leitz, Lomo, Meopta, Nikon, Olympus, Watson, Wild and Zeiss. There was also a Vickers polarising microscope, a Meopta AZ-2 portable microscope in its domed case, a few other microscopes, some empty equipment boxes, books, etcetera.

Phil GreavesPhil Greaves (right) with bargain hunters

Chris Thomas and Don EdwardsChris Thomas and Don Edwards browsing Phil’s bargains

Phil Greaves’ accessoriesPhil Greaves’ accessories

Phil Greaves’ microscopesSome of Phil Greaves’ microscopes [by Robert Ratford]

Phil also had a second table with lots of slide sets and a few pieces of equipment.

Phil Greaves’ overflow sales tablePhil Greaves’ overflow sales table

Steve Durr and Chris Thomas browsingSteve Durr and Chris Thomas browsing Phil Greaves’ overflow sales table

Terry Hope was offering three microscopes, a monocular Vickers M10A, a trinocular Nikon S-Ke, and a trinocular Reichert Zetopan equipped for fluorescence. He also brought two large power supplied and a few other items.

Terry Hope’s sales tableTerry Hope’s sales table

Terry Hope and Phil GreavesTerry Hope (centre) and Phil Greaves

Michael Horwood was selling slides that he had made, and provided a Nikon stereomicroscope and a small Amscope compound so that we could examine the slides.

Michael HorwoodMichael Horwood talking to a visitor about his slides

Michael Horwood’s slidesMichael Horwood’s slides

Frank Leaver had a trinocular Vickers M17 compound microscope, a Leitz stage, some objectives and eyepieces, and a Canon EOS 30D digital SLR.

Frank LeaverFrank Leaver

Brian Norman brought a few brass microscopes, some ringing turntables, lots of parts of microscopes, and boxes of miscellaneous bits and pieces.

Grenham Ireland, Brian Norman and Chris ThomasGrenham Ireland, Brian Norman (centre) and Chris Thomas

Brian acquired some incomplete slide projection pieces for magic lanterns from Derek Sayers, so now he has a new project.

Slide projection pieces for magic lanternsSlide projection pieces for magic lanterns [by Brian Norman]

Stephen Parker was selling a Zeiss Jena interference set, a Reichert condenser, a Spencer dark-ground condenser, a Beck phase set, a very heavy Zeiss focusing block, a lamp house, some books, and sets of bacteriology, human pathology and insect slides.

Stephen Parker’s sales tableStephen Parker’s sales table

David Peston and his wife were selling bargain-priced Olympus stands (BHT, BHTU and BHS), lots of Leitz, Olympus and Reichert objectives, lots of filters, bulbs and eyepieces, a 35 mm Olympus camera attachment (with controller), and a Lunasix exposure meter for use with a microscope.

David PestonDavid Peston

David Peston’s eyepieces and objectivesDavid Peston’s eyepieces and objectives

One of David’s happy customers was Dawn Painter, the scientific illustrator, who went home with a nice Olympus BHT and a link to download Olympus manuals and brochures.

Robert Ratford, Lisa Ashby and Phil Greaves were selling items on behalf of the Quekett Microscopical Club, spread over two tables in the main hall and another in the Spinks Room. Items included a Vickers polarising microscope,  a Bresser Biolux NG, some small microscopes, a Watson lamp with its transformer, books, and an Olympus OM-2 camera with some lenses, a flash, a data back and assorted cables.

Robert Ratford and Danny Ferri with the Quekett sales tableRobert Ratford and Danny Ferri with the Quekett sales table

Robert Ratford and Stephen ParkerRobert Ratford and Stephen Parker

Quekett sales tableQuekett sales table in the Spinks Room

Mike Samworth was selling some of his slides, some books and accessories, and slides from the collection of Steve Edgar. The wooden slide cabinet that Steve had made was also for sale.

Mike Samworth’s sales tableMike Samworth’s sales table

Mike Samworth’s accessoriesMike Samworth’s accessories

Slides from Steve Edgar’s collectionSlides from Steve Edgar’s collection

Lantern slidesLantern slides

Derek Sayers spread his offerings over four tables which included a black and chrome monocular Baker with its wooden box, an old petrological microscope, parts of some old projection microscopes, a CTS phase set, a Spencer dark-ground condenser, DVDs and VHS tapes containing videomicrographs by Patrick Everest, empty fitted wooden boxes, and some new sets of small tools.

Derek SayersDerek Sayers (left)

Videomicrographs by Patrick EverestVideomicrographs by Patrick Everest on DVD and VHS

Petrological microscopePetrological microscope [by Robert Ratford]

Mark Shephard was selling a binocular CTS microscope equipped for phase contrast, a black and chrome monocular Baker microscope with its wooden case, a grey Beck 47 monocular microscope, some books and slide sets, and a wooden slide cabinet that stores slides on their side (not flat).

Mark Shephard’s sales tableMark Shephard’s sales table

Chris Thomas had a mechanical stage and some stage micrometers (1 mm with markings at 0.01 mm intervals). He was also selling some items that he had made, including Cheshire apertometers mounted on slides, fine focus scales to help adjust the fine focus knob in small steps, and dark-ground stops to insert in a filter holder.

Chris Thomas’s sales tableChris Thomas’s sales table

Chris Thomas’s accessoriesChris Thomas’s accessories

Nick Vaughan struggled in with a trinocular Reichert Zetopan and a vast range of accessories including transmitted-light phase contrast, anoptral contrast, interference contrast and dark-ground, and reflected-light interference contrast, all housed in a large fitted box, complete with instructions. He also had a 35 mm camera attachment with its control box.

Nick VaughanNick Vaughan

Alan Wood had a few Beck, Nikon and Olympus caps for eyepieces tubes, an Olympus green filter, and a couple of Olympus condensers for sale.


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

Report and most photographs by Alan Wood

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