West Midlands autumn meeting

Saturday 18th September 2021

Mike Woof organised another joint meeting of the Quekett and the Postal Microscopical Society, held as usual in 2 rooms at the Haling Dene Centre in Penkridge, Staffordshire. Because of the Covid-19 epidemic, this was the first Penkridge meeting since September 2019, so there was lots of catching up with old friends. The morning was given over to exhibits and sales, with items ranging from filters and slides to trinocular microscopes, and after a break for lunch there were 3 talks in the afternoon.

Haling Dene CentreHaling Dene Centre

Joan Bingley has been working on a new citizen science project on birds’ nests, and showed one nest from Cobham and another from Nuneaton that she had started to analyse for their invertebrates (fleas, mites, flat flies, etcetera) and their composition. She showed the nests, some of their contents, her draft of notes for the project, and asked for feedback. The project was also the subject of Joan’s talk in the afternoon.

Joan Bingley’s displayJoan Bingley’s display

Nest of a great tit from CobhamNest of a blue tit from Cobham

Nest of a robin from NuneatonNest of a robin from Nuneaton

Peter Evennett was selling lots of items, including a Leitz Heine condenser (in wooden box with a nosepiece of Pv objectives, and instruction booklet), a PZO stereomicroscope, an Olympus VT-II stereomicroscope, a Beck dissecting microscope, a small antique microscope that uses its wooden box as a base, an unusual microtome in a wooden box, El-Nikkor and Rodagon enlarging lenses, a Revere 35mm stereo camera, some dissecting instruments, a Nikon Coolpix MDC Lens, lots of boxes of slides and coverslips, and boxes of eyepieces, objectives and condensers.

Sandie Pearce and Peter EvennettSandie Pearce and Peter Evennett

Peter Evennett’s sales tablePeter Evennett’s sales table

Leitz Heine condenser and Pv objectivesLeitz Heine condenser and Pv objectives

Antique microscopeAntique microscope

Objectives, condensers, draw tubes, etceteraObjectives, condensers, draw tubes, etcetera

Ringing table presented to Peter Evennett by his studentsRinging table presented to Peter Evennett by his students

Les Franchi had two microscope cameras for sale (a Kodak Colorsnap 35 and a Leitz Micca), a Binac binocular head for a Watson Bactil, and some eyepieces, condensers, filers and slides.

John Charlton and Les FranchiJohn Charlton and Les Franchi (right)

Kodak Colorsnap 35 microscope cameraKodak Colorsnap 35 microscope camera

Lawrence Hartley had a lot of books for sale, as well as some test sieves, a few objectives, a small stereomicroscope, a dissecting microscope, a Leitz nosepiece and some slide boxes.

Grant Foden and Lawrence HartleyGrant Foden, Lawrence Hartley and David and Rhodri Lewis

Terry Hope had been having trouble with the DIC on his Zeiss Universal, so he brought it along and Paul Wheatley showed him how to adjust it properly.

Paul Wheatley, Terry Hope and Mike WoofPaul Wheatley (seated), Terry Hope (grey top) and Mike Woof

John Judson’s items included a Nikon Diaphot inverted microscope, a Vickers Zoomax stereo on a boom stand, a Zeiss stereo, a large Zeiss stand, a Leitz trinocular head and a rotating stage.

Joan Bingley and John JudsonJoan Bingley and John Judson

Chris Kennedy was offering a small binocular Reichert microscope, a Beck microscope camera, and lots of books.

Chris Kennedy’s sales tableChris Kennedy’s sales table

John Millham had 4 stereomicroscopes (a trinocular Olympus SZH10 with 1.2× DFPlanApo objective, a trinocular SZ4045 with C-mount adapter and transmitted-light base, a Nachet Z45 on a boom stand and a Wild M3 on a boom stand), a Leitz fibre-optic illuminator with ring-light, an Olympus TH4-200 transformer, a couple of camera adapters for stereomicroscopes, and boxes of Leitz, Nikon, Olympus and Zeiss objectives and eyepieces.

John Millham and his sales tableJohn Millham and his sales table

Objectives for saleObjectives for sale

The Quekett Shop had new books, binders and ties, a box of bargain-priced books, and oddments including wooden racks for objectives and eyepieces, eyepieces for an МБС stereo, monocular heads for a Lomo microscope, and a small Biolux NG microscope. They were also selling new softback copies of The Freshwater Microscopist on behalf of Tony Pattinson.

Quekett ShopQuekett Shop

The Freshwater Microscopist, by Tony PattinsonThe Freshwater Microscopist, by Tony Pattinson

Mike Samworth and Steve Gill were selling lots of slides for £1 or £2 each (including some human tissues with unusual stains, believed to be by Robin Wacker), old books no longer required for the PMS library, new copies of Mounting (a 2-volume collection of papers by Ernie Ives), a few objectives and bulbs, and some black and chrome microscopes (binocular Bausch & Lomb, monocular Beck and monocular Watson Service). They also had a lot of brochures for many makes of microscopes. The brochures included some for Olympus metallurgical microscopes; Mike gave them to Alan Wood to convert to PDFs for his Olympus microscope downloads.

Mike Samworth, John Charlton, John Birds and Terry HopeMike Samworth, John Charlton, John Birds and Terry Hope

John Ward, John Charlton and Joan Bingley choosing slidesJohn Ward, John Charlton and Joan Bingley choosing slides

Mike Samworth’s slidesSome of Mike Samworth’s slides for sale

Microscope brochuresMicroscope brochures

Mike Samworth with microscopes and ex-PMS library booksMike Samworth with microscopes and ex-PMS library books

Spike Walker was selling a black trinocular Zeiss WL, a black binocular Zeiss Junior with phase contrast, a grey Zeiss Standard, a Zeiss discussion head, a grey monocular Beck 6000 with a circular stage, a binocular Baker Biolux, some power supplies, heads, nosepieces and a laboratory jack.

Spike Walker and John BirdsSpike Walker, David and Rhodri Lewis and John Birds

Paul Wheatley brought along a Swift Stereo Eighty on illuminated base, a Wason Service, an Olympus KHS, a Nikon Alphaphot-2, a monocular Wild M11, a binocular Wild M11 with domed case, an Open University McArthur in its card box, a couple of fibre-optic illuminators, and boxes of eyepieces, objectives, condensers, filters and bulbs.

Derek Haworth and Paul WheatleyDerek Haworth and Paul Wheatley (seated)

Mike Woof’s items for sale included two Cambridge Rocking Microtomes, a huge Nikon Xenon illuminator, boxes of histology slides, and some books and objectives.

Chris Kennedy and Mike WoofChris Kennedy (left) and Mike Woof

Cambridge Rocking MicrotomesCambridge Rocking Microtomes

Items that were free to a good home included new Chance Propper slide dispensers, two Watson Service stands, some bottles, some plastic and wooden boxes, and some suspension files for 35 mm slides.

Free to a good homeFree to a good home

Photo competition

There were only 2 entries this time, and the winner was butterfly eggs by Mike Crutchley.

Photo competitionPhoto competition

The other entry was from Les Franchi, an example of his Pol-Rheinberg technique applied to the hind leg of Melophagus ovinus.


“Looking at birds’ nests” by Joan Bingley

Joan BingleyJoan Bingley

Joan Bingley is developing a new citizen science project on birds’ nests that will involve collecting and identifying invertebrates (fleas, mites, flat flies, etcetera) and analysing the composition of the nests. She showed us photographs of two quite different nests, a blue tit from Cobham and a robin from Nuneaton, and compared the materials of which they were constructed. It is illegal to disturb nesting birds in England, Scotland and Wales, and most parasites leave the nest soon after the young have departed, so it is not clear how to sample them.

You can see Joan’s slides here:

Click the arrows to move through the slides. Click the symbol at bottom right for a larger version.

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

“Adventures in anaglyph 3D” by John Ward

John Ward showed us lots of his anaglyphs of diatoms and mosses, as well as Golgi-stained brain cells, the hooks that hold honeybee wings together, and turnings from mild steel. The diatom photomicrographs were mostly taken with a 100× objective and were stacks of 50–100 images. For photomicrographs, John takes photographs through one eyepiece with a pair of semicircular masks (◐ and ◑) to obtain the two images. For macro with a reversed Pentax 50 mm standard lens, John uses a separate iris diaphragm to take image through the left and right sides of the lens. Sharpness is important, so all of John’s images are stacked. John provided us with red and blue 3D anaglyph glasses (blue over right eye) so that we could appreciate his photographs.

Audience for John Ward’s talkAudience for John Ward’s talk

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

Surirella fastuosaSurirella fastuosa [by John Ward, view with red/blue anaglph glasses]

Terpsinoë sp.Terpsinoë sp. [by John Ward, view with red/blue anaglph glasses]

Bryum capillare leafBryum capillare leaf [by John Ward, view with red/blue anaglph glasses]

Ctenidium molluscum peristomeCtenidium molluscum peristome [by John Ward, view with red/blue anaglph glasses]

Mild steel drill turningsMild steel drill turnings [by John Ward, view with red/blue anaglph glasses]

“Robert Hooke – the Royal Society’s dogsbody” by Terry Hope

Terry HopeTerry Hope

Terry Hope provided us with all sorts of information about Robert Hooke, who we associate with microscopy but whose interests also included architecture, astronomy, geology, lens making, physics, surveying and telescopes. He was the most loyal curator and experimentalist the Royal Society ever had. He is perhaps best known for his illustrated book, Micrographia: or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses. With Observations and Inquiries Thereupon.

You can see Terry’s slides here:

Click the arrows to move through the slides. Click the symbol at bottom right for a larger version.

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


Our thanks to Mike Woof for organising another enjoyable day for microscopists, to everyone who brought exhibits and items for sale, and to the 3 speakers for entertaining and educating us.

Report and photographs by Alan Wood

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