Although Diatom Lab uses in-house, modern, top of the range microscopes and accessories to guarantee customers the best quality and accuracy, in the laboratory there is also a rich collection of vintage and antique microscopes for the following purposes:
a) to understand how and at what level of quality test diatoms were resolved throughout history of microscopy;
b) to understand how and at what level of quality diatoms and other microscopic objects were observed throughout history of microscopy;
c) to understand the technical evolution and the optical aberrations of the microscope objectives and accessories throughout history of microscopy.
These instruments come from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries and are surprisingly in perfect condition.
The leap into the past through vintage and antique microscopy has several salient aspects:
- first of all it always generates a strong emotion, especially if it is possible to observe from old but like-new instruments (because we understand how the observations of the past were really like and we can put on the clothes of the ancestors. It's a kind of priceless time machine journey);
- we realize that many old scientific discoveries have been made despite using instruments with much inferior performances;
- we understand how much genius, care and passion the past scientists and opticians had in building masterpieces despite having less means than today;
- we can directly verify how the optics have made great strides over time, in this way we can appreciate the present microscopy even more.
This page will be regularly updated with new experiments and descriptions of old equipment.
Barone, S., 2022. Anoptral phase contrast applied to diatoms: a study by means of test diatoms on the advantages originally described by its discoverer Alvar Wilska, over the standard (positive) phase contrast. Miscape Magazine, 311 (ISSN 1365 - 070x).