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Victorian Cased Binocular Microscope by H&W Crouch of 64A Bishopsgate St, London


A rare Victorian cased binocular microscope by H&W Crouch of 64A Bishopsgate, London.

The microscope stand on a reverse claw or Y shaped base with rack and pinion movement for coarse focus and fine focus to the front of the barrel. It is engraved to the barrel with, “H&W Crouch, 64a Bishopsgate St, London” and the serial number, ‘312’.

The case contains numerous additional accessories including a bulls eye condenser, numerous eyepieces and a one inch and one fifth of an inch objective lenses signed to H Crouch at 54 London Wall.

Henry Crouch, the driving force and later sole owner of the Crouch business was originally apprenticed to the famous company of Smith, Beck & Beck but left in 1862 to form his own company with his brother William.

Initially their repertoire consisted of microscopes similar in design and make up to Henry’s previous employers but soon changed their focus to manufacturing lower priced microscopes to cater for an alternative market. This change won them numerous positive reviews from celebrated microscopists of the period and Henry became a member of the Royal Microscopical Society in 1863 and later, the Quekett Microscopical Club in 1866.

Initially trading at Regent’s Canal Dock, the company moved in 1864 to their address at 64A Bishopsgate and it was while the company traded here that the brothers dissolved their partnership in early 1866. Nothing is known of the reasons for the split but Henry continued a successful trade and in 1868 moved again to new premises at 54 London Wall and again in 1874, Henry moved the business to 66 Barbican.

The business flourished for most of the nineteenth century with Henry exhibiting at numerous exhibitions and plying a successful export trade to the US. The firm became a limited company in 1886 and his son became involved in the early 1890’s. Crouch however, found it increasingly difficult to compete in the market due to cheaper alternatives and the firm was eventually sold out to S Maw & Son in the early twentieth century.  

Given the dates of the early partnership of Henry & William Crouch and the dates for the company’s addresses, this instrument can be accurately dated to within a two year period of manufacture between 1864 and 1866. A very early and rare example of this company’s output.

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