Gossip meeting “Victorian slides”

Tuesday 14th May 2024

The Gossip meeting “Victorian slides” was held in the Angela Marmont Centre in the Natural History Museum. The participants gave brief introductions to the Victorian slides and other items that they had brought, and then we spent the afternoon discussing them and examining them under stereo and compound microscopes.

Lisa and Nigel Ashby showed several Victorian slides from their collection, chosen to show a number of early mounters, makers and retailers, popular specimens, and red and green papers.

Lisa and Nigel Ashby’s Victorian slidesSome of Lisa and Nigel Ashby’s Victorian slides

Lisa and Nigel Ashby’s Victorian slidesSome of Lisa and Nigel Ashby’s Victorian slides

Phil Greaves showed lots of Edwardian slides by Clarke & Page. The quality of their slides was second to none, and they covered a wide range of subjects.

Phil Greaves’ Clarke & Page slidesSome of Phil Greaves’ Clarke & Page slides

Phil Greaves’ Clarke & Page slidesSome of Phil Greaves’ Clarke & Page slides

Phil also showed two replicas of the small Leeuwenhoek microscopes

Replica Leeuwenhoek microscopesReplica Leeuwenhoek microscopes

Phil also showed a book from the Club’s library, a recently-restored bound collection of English translations of works by Leeuwenhoek (The Select Works of Antony Van Leeuwenhoek, by Samuel Hoole, 1801). This book and others from the Club’s library will be displayed at the Annual Exhibition in October.

Drawings by LeeuwenhoekDrawings by Leeuwenhoek [photo by Chris Thomas]

Pam Hamer does not collect slides, but she recently bought a slide box that she wanted and it came with some slides. One of them is a Victorian paper-covered slide by Henry Webb of a longitudinal section of pine.

Pam Hamer’s Victorian slidePam Hamer’s Victorian slide

Pam also showed information and photos of two slides made by John Quekett of granite from Tierra del Fuego that was brought back on HMS Adventure in 1830.

Graham Matthews showed a boxed set of slides that Brian Stevenson has identified as probably made by Andrew Pritchard between 1830 and 1840. The slides are small (53×19 mm) and they are dry mounts with coverslips that appear to be mica.

Set of Andrew Pritchard slidesSet of Andrew Pritchard slides

Small slides by Andrew PritchardSmall slides by Andrew Pritchard

Jacky McPherson showed some slides of oribatid mites from the Club’s collection that were made by A. D. Michael. He deposited two other sets of these slides with the Natural History Museum and the Royal Microscopical Society, but they have deteriorated. Matthew Shepherd (who helps Graham Matthews identify mites from Warnham Local Nature Reserve) is working on the genus Tegeocranus and asked if our slides were still in good condition. They appear to be fine, and Graham is now going to take photomicrographs for Matthew.

Slides of Tegeocranus spp. by A. D. MichaelSlides of Tegeocranus spp. by A. D. Michael

Jacky went to the recent Postal Microscopical Society AGM where Ian Wilson was showing laser-cut dry mounts with removable covers, and she brought some that she had mounted on slides for us to see.

Removable dry mount covers by Ian WilsonRemovable dry mount covers by Ian Wilson

Mark Shephard brought a slide with engraved microwriting made by R. J. Farrants in 1885. The title is “Memorable Events”, and the events refer to the Crimean War. The writing seems to have been engraved on a coverslip that was then mounted on a slide.

Memorable EventsMemorable Events [photo by Chris Thomas]

Mark has managed to decipher the text, and showed a typed version.

Chris Thomas showed a small USB-500 camera with a 0.5× reducing lens that replaces a microscope eyepiece. The camera is controlled by the USB Camera Pro app on a smartphone, draws power from the phone, and stores images on the phone.

Chris Thomas’ USB camera and smartphoneChris Thomas’ USB camera and smartphone

Nigel Williams showed an Edmund Wheeler slide of Stauroneis acuta, a Richard Suter slide of Amphitetras antediluviana, and a slide by Eduard Thum.

Nigel Williams’ Victorian slidesNigel Williams’ Victorian slides

Alan Wood brought three slides that might be Victorian, although none of them are marked with the mounter or a date. One was a roughly-cut glass slide (79 × 27.5 × 2 mm) of Pulex irritans, one was a wooden slide of dry mounted Lagena forams from Sligo, and the third was a small (58.5 × 18 mm) paper-covered glass slide of a cat flea.

Alan Wood’s Victorian slidesAlan Wood’s Victorian slides

Jacky McPhersonJacky McPherson

Chris ThomasChris Thomas using a smartphone to take a photograph

Chris Thomas and Phil GreavesChris Thomas and Phil Greaves

Chris Thomas, Lisa Ashby and Jacky McPhersonChris Thomas, Lisa Ashby and Jacky McPherson

Terry Hope and Pam HamerTerry Hope and Pam Hamer with the volume of works by Leeuwenhoek

Report and most photographs by Alan Wood

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