Here is an very nice collectable example of an imposing technical microscope in good original condition - a retro Watson Bactil binocular model from 1953 - the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. If you are not familiar with Watson's Bactil model, it's a real step up from its smaller brother the Watson Service model - the Bactil is a much bigger (and heavier) proposition altogether and one of the larger instruments Watson produced in this era. To get a sense of the sheer scale of this model of microscope take a look at the size disparity between the objective lenses and the instrument itself, that gives you a good idea of the size and presence that the Bactil instrument commands, in both monocular and binocular guises and it's a bit like the 50s V-bomber of the Watson range.Please read on if you're interested in this vintage technical instrument. This example is serial number 112438 which dates its manufacture to April 1953 - there's also the original Watson guarantee card in the case which confirms the date of manufacture - an increasingly rare find these days. It's got a comprehensive technical configuration and a good compliment of period objective lenses offering a usable magnification capability. The construction is really solid with much use of heavy metals such as iron and brass. The black painted finish is in good condition with only a couple of areas showing minor chipping and there's some paint re-touching on the monocular tube. The bright-work components are all nickel/chrome plated and have polished up quite well. This Watson Bactil has rack and pinion main and thumb-wheel fine focusing, both of which move with only a little evident wear. This example is supplied with two sets - 6x and 8x Watson eyepieces - these therefore scale up to 9x and 12x magnification taking into account the +1.5x provided by the binocular unit. The monocular head carries the same Watson serial number 112438 and is very easy to swap over and the same eyepieces can be used in the monocular head. The Bactil is just as capable in monocular configuration as it is in binocular, something I hope that the listing photos amply demonstrate. This example is fitted with a rotating Watson triple nose-piece which clicks into position positively as each objective is rotated to its viewing position and comes supplied with three progressive magnification period Watson objective lenses as follows. Watson para 25mm 6x low-power with period storage canister - Watson para 16mm 10x with period storage canister.
Watson para 4mm 40x with period storage canister. There's therefore an effective magnification range with all the supplied optics of around 36x to a theoretical 480x with the use of good illumination.
The fully mechanical rectangular specimen stage set-up is a really well-engineered feature that has rack and pinion systems that move both the x-axis and y-axis smoothly, together with silvered vernier measurement scales. The stage-clip system for holding slides in place during viewing is present and comprises two separate elements that fit into a dove-tail recess in the stage surface and can therefore be moved around to accommodate different sizes of slide.The right hand clip retains adequate resistance in its sprung armature to hold a slide in place while the x and y-axes are being moved around and if you're using inclined viewing. The y-axis adjuster also has a thumb-wheel locking mechanism to prevent it slipping on inclination. Below stage there is a Watson universal condenser with centering adjustment and a working iris for controlling lighting levels that moves freely. The whole condenser assembly is on a rack and pinion mount for vertical adjustment. There's also a swing-out filter holder below the condenser for adding coloured, opaque or dark-field filters. This example is fitted with a larger plano-concave mirror for illumination which is on an adjustable arm and gimbal set-up, with pretty good silvering showing just a little foxing to the plano side.
And last but not least of course, the Bactil's binocular eyepiece unit, which is adjustable for focus by twisting the right-hand eyepiece tube and eyepiece separation via a right-sided thumb-wheel. There's also monocular hardware for this example, giving the opportunity for monocular viewing for those that prefer microscopes with a monocular configuration and the Bactil is just as capable and imposing as a monocular instrument. All-in-all this is a really well presented, highly original and pretty well complete example of a retro Watson Bactil binocular model with its comprehensive technical set-up, period look and good cosmetic condition with just the right level of patination to its paintwork for an early-50s example. This instrument will make a great usable addition to a collection as well as making a spectacular and imposing retro display piece.
If you've been looking for a vintage Watson Bactil for a while, this example definitely merits a really close look. Please note that there is also a correct fully fitted-out Watson Bactil wooden storage case for this example that's also in good condition for its age, with two internal storage racks, sundries drawer containing some blank slides and coverslips, leather carry-handle and a working lock with that all-important key. Thanks for looking - please check out my other listings if you get a chance. Watson & Sons Ltd Bactil Mono/Binocular Microscope, circa 1953, Cased" is in sale since Wednesday, October 6, 2021.This item is in the category "Antiques\Science/Medicine\Scientific Instruments". The seller is "arcboutant" and is located in Glasgow.
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