R&J Beck "Large Best" Binocular Microscope (c.1869)

Richard Beck, the nephew of JJ Lister, began working with James Smith, first as an apprentice and later as a partner to form Smith & Beck, locating the business at 6 Coleman St. London. This partnership lasted from 1847 to 1856. In 1851 Richard Beck's brother, Joseph Beck, joined the firm as an apprentice, and in 1857 he became a partner and the firm was now called Smith, Beck & Beck. James Smith retired from the company in 1865, and from then on it would be known as R & J Beck, located at 31 Cornhill, London. During his lifetime, James Smith built a number of high-quality lenses specially designed for use on this model, the "No. 1" also known as "Large Best", as well as other high-end models.

Excellent brass microscope sold on July 31, 1869 at his Cornhill Street workshop, a few years after the firm was renamed R&J Beck. It has the number 4775 engraved on the foot, as well as the manufacturer's name. The base is typical of the Beck saga and is a slight variant of the Large Best or model No. 1 with a single pillar instead of the typical double. It has a platform with micrometric movement and a large number of accessories, including two lieberkuhn, tweezers , analyzer and different polarizers, live-box, compressorium, paraboloid condenser, dark-wells, four objectives, magnifying glass, two pairs of eyepieces, camera lucida and micrometric adjustment mechanism under the observation platform. The mahogany box is very well preserved although it does not have a key.

References: "Billings Microscope Collection" pag 50, fig. 93 - pag 209, fig 404

G. Turner, "Great Age of the Microscope", pag 171-183 y fig 177

G. Turner, Collecting Microscopes, pag 105-108

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