Foreword about the Watson Bactil. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s hospital pathology labs were completely dependent on the Watson Bactil microscope - it really was the backbone technical microscope of that era and to describe the Bactil as the workhorse of NHS diagnosis would also be pretty accurate. Therefore, generations of medical technicians and pathologists alike have used these amazing pieces of British microscopical engineering, hence most examples on the market today show evidence of being well used.But, these quality microscopes can take it because they emanate from a time when quality mattered, a time before accountants and administrators started running manufacturing companies and a time when quality materials, were allied with great design features and it was all put together by conscientious assembly workers at the Watson manufacturing facility. Therefore the Bactil model makes a great collector's piece and it's also more than capable of still being used as a versatile technical microscope. This example is serial number 137008 and we can date it to around 1962, it's from the period when the original optical manufacturing company of Watson & Sons had changed their trading name to Watson Barnet. It's also got a comprehensive technical configuration, some of its original compliment of lenses, plus some newer replacements and additions. The construction is very solid with much use of heavy metals such as iron and brass with base, stage and upper all of really solid construction. This model is painted in off-white and Watson used black paint for their Bactil models until about 1960 when they launched this model and switched to an off-white painted finish and re-christened the model the "Bactil -60", probably referencing the new decade of the 1960s. This colour change which may have also had something to do with NHS procurement contracts and the requirements thereof relating to equipment that was going to be used in a clinical setting. The off-white paint finish is in pretty reasonable shape with some fairly minor signs of wear on the frame where one would expect. The bright-work components are all nickel-plated and have polished up quite well. This Watson Bactil has rack and pinion main and fine focusing via concentric thumb-wheels at the base of the frame, both of which move reasonably smoothly with some signs of wear but still functional.
This example comes with a quality set of two Vickers 10x magnification Complan matched eyepieces for the binocular set-up with built-in eye-cups to aid binocular viewing. The binocular unit is +1.5x times magnification therefore giving 15x magnification at the eyepieces.It is also supplied with two other sets of spare Vickers eyepieces which are 8x and 12.5x magnification respectively. The microscope is fitted with a quadruple nose-piece and comes supplied with a total of five objective lenses with progressive magnification, as follows. 1.5 inch wide field 4x. The effective magnification range available from a combination of all supplied lenses is therefore around 48x to an incredible 1,875x magnification with oil immersion techniques. The fully mechanical stage set-up with its drop-down x-axis and y-axis controls is a real pleasure to use offering a fine degree of control during specimen viewing; it has internal mechanisms that move both axes nice and smoothly.
The original Watson sprung stage-clip system for holding slides in place on the stage for viewing purposes is in good condition with plenty of springiness in the armature. There is some very minor evidence of wear to the painted finish on the stage surface as would be expected with normal use over time. Below stage there is an Abbe condenser with fully working iris on a rack and pinion mount, the condenser being adjustable for side-to-side position as well as height; the condenser is fitted with a filter holder for coloured or dark-field filters. There is a single-sided frame-mounted plano mirror for lighting, which is in good condition with the silvering virtually blemish-free, it's multi-adjustable with a gimbal set-up. There is also a correct original Watson wooden storage case with internal drawer for this example - see final photo in the listing.And last but not least of course, the Bactil's. This is the correct binocular head for this example, as the numbers are fully matching, confirming this example's provenance. The binocular head is adjustable for both focus and eyepiece separation via a central thumb-wheel and the main Vickers Complan eye-pieces have integral eye-cups. This particular binocular head can also be removed, swiveled by 180 degrees and re-fitted the other way round if desired (see penultimate photo in listing). Binocular heads can take some getting used to visually and are generally preferred for more detailed and also lengthy microscopical work. There were some image quality issues in testing owing to dust in the eyepieces and a flaw in one of the Vickers 12.5x lenses, but it wasn't that noticeable and it's only right to mention it in the listing particulars - the other lenses were basically fine. All-in-all an interesting example of a retro Watson Barnet Bactil 60 model just oozing both solidity and quality with its comprehensive technical set-up, period look and superb cosmetic condition - probably an example suitable for an enthusiast or collector.
This example will make a really good addition to any collection and it should also with some careful cleaning of all the lenses be perfectly usable as a technical day-to-day microscope if desired. It really is a microscope from a bygone era when quality was paramount. With all that metal it's a really heavyweight piece and will be around 15kg packed weight, so will be sent by insured courier upon receipt of cleared funds. Thanks for looking - please check out my other listings - mainly eclectic artworks and vintage optics, plus some other cool stuff.The item "Vintage Watson Bactil Binocular All-Original Technical Microscope, Cased c1962" is in sale since Tuesday, January 14, 2020. 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 to United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Australia, United States, Bahrain, Canada, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, China, Israel, Hong Kong, Norway, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Bangladesh, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brunei darussalam, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Grenada, French guiana, Iceland, Jersey, Jordan, Cambodia, Saint kitts and nevis, Liechtenstein, Macao, Monaco, Maldives, Martinique, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, Paraguay, Reunion, Turks and caicos islands, Aruba, Saudi arabia, United arab emirates, Chile, Bahamas, Costa rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Kuwait, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Trinidad and tobago, Uruguay, Viet nam.