Here we have a collectable vintage original Service model microscope with low-voltage electric lighting by W. Watson & Sons Limited of London. This example dates to around 1949 based on the sequential Watson production number of 99774 which is engraved onto the main tube. This post-war example from the late 1940s has been well looked after by its former custodian, which was Bristol University Vetinary School.
The Service model was essentially the mid-size model of Watson's range of microscope offerings and the back-bone of its microscope range, first appearing in the Watson catalogue around 1919 and remaining in production right up until the mid 1960s - first as the Service (this example), then Service I Research and Service II Student models (more streamlined shape) and then the Watson Barnet Service. So, this model essentially had quite a long production run of nearly 50 years - initially in brass, then like this example from the mid/late 1940s onwards in nickel/chrome finish. This long production run giving us a firm steer about how capable this instrument was in its heyday, so much so that this model often found its way into hospitals and educational establishment, this example being no exception to that general rule. This example also benefits from a set of original period lenses with a nice range of usable magnification, good chrome-plated details such as thumb-wheels which are showing relatively few signs of age-related tarnishing in keeping with its period and usage and a period Watson low voltage lighting solution with transformer and lamp-house and bulb carrier which gives good consistent tungsten illumination. The Service is essentially an excellent piece of British quality optical engineering showing its quality in every component, based on the right materials, solid construction and great design.
Feel the weight of it for one, despite being a mid-size vintage microscope it's still quite heavy with all that steel and brass. This is a sturdy good quality Service microscope in good original condition, fully working, with some signs of wear and hardly any corrosion or chipping to the painted surfaces and just some crazing to the paintwork on the main tube. It's got a great look and patina with just the right signs of age for a post-war ex-vet school example. Turning to the optics, this Watson Service microscope is fitted with a chrome eyepiece draw-tube with graduation markings. The main tube is brass with coarse focus via rack and pinion with a nice smooth action, with the main tube holding in position as it should.Fine focus is a vernier screw/cam arrangement and I've cleaned and lubricated this mechanism so that it now moves smoothly with the right level of resistance to the touch. 2/3rds inch - Watson Parachromatic - 10x. 1/6th inch - Watson Parachromatic - 40x. Overall, the range of magnification provided by this Watson therefore runs from about 24x to around 320x with good illumination. The instrument tilts for inclined viewing, holding in position as it should via a lever tightening mechanism. The stage is a standard Watson ebonite with metal core item for the Service model and has been fitted with a pair of original Watson brass stage clips that are fine for holding a slide steady especially when using inclined viewing. Turning to the sub-stage, we have a Watson Abbe-style condenser on a height adjustable rack and pinion mount which also has a working iris to control lighting levels.
There's also a 35mm swing-out holder allowing coloured, opaque or dark-field filters to be inserted. Lighting is via a Watson illuminator comprising lamp-house which slots into the base of the limb and holds in position perfectly when the instrument is inclined. The bulb-carrier contains a 6V 15W tungsten bulb which in turn is powered by a Watson low-voltage transformer with on/off toggle switch and rotating rheostat to vary the light intensity. The lighting solution works very well and you can see it working on some of the listing photos. The tungsten illumination is slightly yellowish and this can always be corrected to white by using a blue or cyan filter.
This is a good visual and working example of Watson's classic Service model in original condition with nice period optics and very good consistent electric lighting - it's essentially in collectable condition especially in view of the good cosmetics, nice retro look and its connection with Bristol Veterinary School - it's also offered at a sensible price point for a well-equipped vintage instrument. Please note that there is no storage case with this example. Thanks for looking - please also check out my other listings if you get a chance.This item is in the category "Antiques\Science/Medicine\Scientific Instruments". The seller is "arcboutant" and is located in this country: GB.
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