This Bactil is also interesting because it's supplied solely in monocular configuration, whereas many Bactil models were fitted with the wider coarse focus thumb-wheels needed to accommodate a binocular head. This inter-war example is in all-original condition and has been really well looked after by its former custodian who was a private collector. This Bactil also benefits from a good set of original period-correct Watson lenses in their correct Bakelite canisters, an original brass full mechanical stage, correct period storage case and also the brass over-size stage that's so often missing. This example has got superb lacquered brass details including its main tube and thumb-wheels which are only showing a few minor signs of age-related spotting, but this is hardly noticeable, very much in keeping with its period and only adds to the instrument's character. The brass-work really catches the sun and glints with a lovely warm yellow/golden hue.
The Bactil is essentially an excellent piece of British optical engineering built from quality materials, with solid construction, great design and skilled workmanship and in this period many hours of hand-finishing required to produce this wonderful instrument. This is a sturdy quality microscope in original condition, fully working and correct, with no real signs of wear I can see and hardly any chipping to the black painted surfaces. It's got a great look and patina with just the right signs of age for a brass example from the 1930s. On the technical side both coarse and fine focus move nice and freely and the instrument holds in position in terms of its main optical tube and on inclination as it should.
Turning to the optics, this Watson Bactil microscope comes fitted with a period graduated chromed eyepiece draw-tube and some appropriate quality vintage Watson. Eyepieces that with good illumination produce excellent images.
6x magnification - Watson - 10x magnification - Watson. 2 inch - Watson Parachromatic - 2.5x with period Watson canister. 2/3rd inch - Watson Parachromatic -10x with period Watson canister. 1/6th inch - Watson Parachromatic - 40x with period Watson canister.Overall, the range of magnification provided by this Watson Bactil therefore ranges from about 15x to a perfectly respectable 400x with good illumination. The microscope's mechanical stage is an original Watson factory-fitted item in brass with two armatures one of which is sprung. There's also two small flexible spring-steel clips to provide additional support, which are often missing on this model of mechanical stage, but the examples here are intact with nice factory bluing still visible. This system is excellent for retaining slides during inclined viewing, with freely running x/y controls also offering fine control of specimen positioning. There's also an over-sized non-mechanical stage that can be used as an alternative and will just slot into the same dovetails, so is very easy to fit and is also pre-drilled with two holes for fitting slide clips.
Turning to the sub-stage, we have a Watson Abbe-style condenser with centering via two brass thumb-screws on a height adjustable rack and pinion mount. There's a working iris to control lighting levels and lighting is via a plano-concave mirror which is in very good condition on its adjustable brass support arm and gimbal set-up with excellent silvering to both sides. There's also a 35mm swing-out filter holder for the addition of coloured, opaque or dark-field filters. All controls operate smoothly including coarse focus, fine-focus, eyepiece draw-tube, mechanical stage, condenser and plano-concave mirror.
The instrument has been lightly lubricated and the controls operate with a nice precise feel, almost as if this example had only recently left the Watson factory. This is a great visual and working example of Watson's classic Bactil model and in the best condition I've seen for a mid-1930s brass example, making it quite an interesting proposition for a collector.
It's in highly original condition with a comprehensive specification, good optics and it's essentially very collectable and really would make a good centre-piece for a collection of vintage instruments. Please note that there is also a period-correct Watson storage case with this example, which is also in very good condition with an internal storage rack for the lenses, a sundries drawer, original transit bolt and brass washer and also the original working lock with key. Thanks for looking - please also check out my other listings if you get a chance. Watson & Sons Ltd Bactil Monocular Microscope in Brass c1936, Cased" is in sale since Monday, April 12, 2021. This item is in the category "Antiques\Science/Medicine\Scientific Instruments".The seller is "arcboutant" and is located in Glasgow. This item can be shipped worldwide.