Ernst Leitz was born in Salzburg, Austria in 1843 and in 1865, in Wetzlar, he became associated with the widow of Kellner, a magnificent microscope builder who had died a few years earlier. In 1869 he took over the company and changed its name, making it the largest in the world in the 19th century. In 1887 he sold his 10,000th copy and by 1900 he had built over 50,000. In addition to being a great businessman, he had an attitude that was far ahead of his time towards his employees, introducing medical insurance, a retirement pension and aid for the purchase of homes. He also fixed the working day at 8 hours in 1899. One of his daughters married one of his closest collaborators, Reichert, creating another important microscope industry in Vienna. He opened delegations in Russia, England and the USA and died in 1820 in Sweden, his son continuing to head the company, which after the Second World War was renamed Leica.
Nice example of the continental style, promoted and led by Leitz from Germany at the end of the 19th century and quickly copied throughout Europe. It is signed on the base with the number 53825 and was manufactured in Wetzlar on July 14, 1900, as indicated by its manufacturing sheet. This was sold in Edinburgh but should hardly have been used as it looks immaculate. The approach is rack and pinion, as was usual in those days. Perfectly preserved, with all its original gold lacquer, it has a series of very complete standard accessories, as well as other accessories, among which a lucida camera, a micrometer and a mechanical platform for micrometric movements in the X-Y plane stand out. It has 3 eyepieces, polarizing filters and 5 objectives, one of them oil immersion and the other with a correction collar. The set is spectacular and is perfectly housed in a very well preserved mahogany box, with the serial number engraved, the lock intact and its corresponding key.
References: "Billings Microscope Collection" pag 224, fig. 447
H. Moe, "The Story of the Microscopes", pag 236-8
G. Turner, "Collecting Microscopes", pag 92