Posts Tagged ‘microscopes’


23 March 2014

American Optical “Spencer Sixty” lab microscope

When I was young I had a microscope. I didn’t use it very much. Just enough to see some little creatures swimming around in pond water, look at some insect parts, and things like that.

But when I saw a lab microscope last year at Palouse Treasures, being sold for a tenth of what it was worth, I had to get it. Now someone who really has a use for one has expressed an interest in it. So I thought I better take some photos of it and put up an article.

Known History of the Microscope

According to the historians, Dutch lens makers (for eyeglasses) were the first ones on earth to put together microscopes, back in the late 1500s. This may be true.

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723) is a famous name in microscopy, pioneering the use of this instrument as a research tool in biology.

As a Scientologist I am aware that all earth technologies had earlier versions elsewhere. The process here on earth has been one of re-familiarization, not “first art,” for the most part.

Optical microscopes served us well until the 1930s, when some electronics guys were able to throw together some instruments that magnified things much better than optical microscopes could. Meanwhile, optical lenses continue to be used for so many different purposes it would be difficult to list them all.

Parts of a Microscope

parts of a microscope

Parts of an optical microscope.

I don’t particularly want to get into a whole thing on optics here. The point was to just get some photos of a microscope up on my blog, with a few of the basic technical terms.

microscope business end

objectives, stage, focus knobs, lamp

Perhaps one of the more fascinating things about this instrument, and many others like it, is the solidity of its design and the obviously precision machining that went into many of its parts. In many modern machines, the technique that goes into their construction is mostly hidden under a cute or simply practical cover. Unless you open things up, you won’t notice all the precision parts that go into the things we use (I am thinking of computer disk drives). But with this microscope, the machined surfaces are right out there to look at.

Extending the perceptions

The microscope is an example of a long list of tools designed to extend human perception. The fact that we find ourselves in a situation where we must construct sophisticated machines to extend the abilities of our bodies (which are rather sophisticated biological machines in themselves) is quite ironic. We had – in theory at least – the full range of perceptions to start with. We ended up “inside” a very limiting body for reasons best left for researchers such as LRH to explain.

Only a very few people on earth are beginning to experience the range of perceptions that are available to a being when it operates exterior to a body. There have even been techniques developed to rehabilitate lost perceptual abilities, including the ability to sense things like magnetism and radio waves. I am very interested to see where this process of rehabilitation will take us!


Pullman is at 2,300 feet

23 March 2013

Lewiston Idaho is just 25 miles south of Pullman. SEL has a plant there.

Lewiston is on the Snake River, at about 750 feet elevation.

Pullman is on the hills above the Snake, at about 2,300 feet elevation.

A bunch of folks who work at SEL in Pullman live in Lewiston. One was telling us how last week it was 70 degrees (F) in Lewiston. Now that’s Spring! We haven’t seen those temperatures in Pullman yet.

This time of year, the difference in elevation keeps Pullman about 10 degrees (F) colder than Lewiston.

For example, this week temperatures in Lewiston are expected to climb back up to near 70, lows in the 40s. While here in Pullman, the temperatures are only expected to get up to the low 60s, with lows near freezing. Right now, air temperatures in Pullman are bottoming out down in the 20s at around 5AM every morning (about when I get up to go to work).

A new microscope

Now that I have a bicycle, I am more willing to get out and around town. So middle of last week I headed out to buy some groceries and hunt for cool stuff in the local thrift store (Palouse Treasures).

I found a great used Dell monitor for $20, but I also spied – tucked away on an inconspicuous shelf behind the stereo equipment – a student microscope. I couldn’t carry both home at the same time, so I came back the next day and the microscope was still there. It was in extremely good condition, so I made the lady charge me $49.99 for it instead of the $29.99 they were asking.

I had a little “toy” microscope when I was a kid. It was fun. The book I got told me to put a lettuce leaf in some water and let it sit around for a few days. So I did, then looked at a little drop under the microscope. And there were all kinds of little things swimming around in there! I also got prepared slides with little insects and so forth. Very interesting to look at them magnified.

This scope is a classic American Optical “Spencer” made around 1965 (according to a list of serial number ranges I found on the internet). They don’t make them any more, though other companies make others very similar. It has a 10X eyepiece and 3 objectives – 4X, 10X and 43X – and a built-in light. It’s a big, well-built thing and it works great. How neat to have a microscope again after all these years! Will probably mostly look at electronics stuff with it. And will try to find a camera that can take digital photos through it.

I couldn’t find any of my own drawings of things under a microscope, but here’s something from a biology handout I got for a summer class I took in the 1960s:

pond life

Drawings of microscopic pond water creatures.