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Edwardian Cased Royal Model Microscope by W Watson & Sons, High Holborn, London.


An Edwardian period cased ‘Royal’ Model Microscope by W Watson & Sons, High Holborn, London.

This superb example of one of Watson & sons flagship microscopes of the period was first released in 1900 and was manufactured as a more compact and slightly less costly version of their top of the range Van Heurck models.

To quote the Watson catalogue of the period, “The Royal microscope carries large sized eyepieces, has mechanical and sliding draw tubes and is fitted with fine adjustment to the substage. A medium priced microscope yielding advantages possessed by the most costly models.”

William Watson started the business in 1837 as a manufacturer of scientific instruments but did not initially produce microscopes. It was not until 1876 that the first microscopes were produced by the firm, by which time it had become W. Watson & Son with the first of his sons joining the family business. It has also moved to the High Holborn address with which it is best associated.

In 1881, William Watson died and shortly after, the business became W. Watson & Sons with the addition of William’s second son. The brothers continued the business and in 1908 it was incorporated as a limited company. It continued under family ownership until 1949 whereafter it was owned in various guises by Philips until it eventual closure in 1981.

Given the name of W Watson & Sons (1882 – 1908) engraved to the base and the date of release for the first Royal model, this piece can be accurately dated to between 1900 & 1908 and therefore represents an early version of this model which stayed in production for a number of decades.

This microscope is further stamped to the base with the serial number 10506 which narrows down the date further to about 1906 – 1908.

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