style continental microscope with brass base - circa 1870's
Edmund Hartnack joined his famous uncle, George Oberhaeuser, as a partner in 1857. Taking over control of the firm in 1860, Hartnack continued the manufacture of microscopes with the same skill and innovation that made his uncle famous. Both he and his uncle were highly respected and influential on the Continent, as well as in England. This microscope is an excellent precursor to the continental style that would sweep the Continent, England, and America toward the end of the 19th century. It is not signed, but bears all of the hallmarks of being by Hartnack – the style of the case interior, the two objectives, the mirror knob, wide-flared eyepieces, and tooling of the fine focus knob. Many of the early French continental designs were made for export, particularly for England, and were left unsigned so that the selling optician could add his name. Hartnack instruments were usually signed on the draw tube section of the inner optical tube, making it easy to add or eliminate. The microscope measures a compact 9 ¾" tall in closed position with a variable tube length from 5" and 7". The continental style fine focus is via a micrometer screw knob on top of the limb. Two objectives come with the set: a low power lens marked as 4, and a higher power lens marked as 7. Both have stackable elements and come with brass canisters. There are three separate eyepieces. A substage dovetailed condenser attachment slides into place. There are no extra stops for this holder. The optical system is excellent for its age and type, providing sharp images of good color and contrast. The plano-concave mirror is in excellent condition. The microscope is finished in lacquered brass. The lacquer is complete noting an area on the outer optical tube where it has worn through. This is not apparent in the photographs. The instrument is housed in its own fine mahogany case with an interior accessory box. The case is in excellent condition with lock but no key. This is an early example of an important type. Its brass base and fine workmanship attest to the fine manufacturers that were emerging in Europe in the last quarter of the 19th century.