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  • Important Victorian Microscope Slide Collection – H.M.S. Challenger Expedition

    Important Victorian Microscope Slide Collection – H.M.S. Challenger Expedition

    We are pleased to offer a collection of six prepared microscope slides containing samples from the first round the world oceanographic survey that of H.M.S. Challenger in the 1870’s – including from the Mills collection a sample from Raine Island a historically important location near the top of the Great Barrier Reef

    1. By noted preparer Richard Suter of 10 Highweek Road London Diatomacea from the Atlantic Ocean 190 fathoms
    2. An unknown preparer “Atlantic Soundings Challenger Expedition 1873” recommended for the polariscopic observation set in three small circular slips notes as 2300,1300 and 2800 fathoms
    3. “Soundings H.M.S. Challenger Aug 26th 1875 Lat 11deg N Lon 152 deg W [South of Hawaii} – 2750 fathoms” prepared by a productive yet still anonymous preparer known as “Green Papers” by collectors
    4. By preparer R.N. “Soundings 32 deg S 78 deg W 1350 fathoms Challenger” – the location of the Island of Juan Fernandos of Robinson Crusoe fame and the isolation of Alexander Selkirk by William Dampier. Nice examples of Foraminifera in small deep mount.
    5. By leading Northern preparer Arthur Docherty of Manchester from Lat 7 deg N Long 144 deg W [Near Hawaii] a large sample of Forams in superb condition.
    6. And the rare Raine Island – Great Barrier Reef Slide

    On 31st August 1874 H.M.S. Challenger visited Raine Island situated at the northern outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Dredging was undertaken at 155 fathoms where the bottom was coral sand – this was recorded as Station 185. The site was prolific for forminifera. This historic slide was mounted by Arthur J Doherty who worked in Manchester during the second half of the 19th century. A label on the reverse indicates that it was once part of the great Mills collection of prepared microscope slides.

    Stunning set of six offered as a collection

    A piece of the History of Oceanography

    The Challenger Expedition
    The Challenger Expedition (1872-1876) organised by the Royal Society was the world first and greatest oceanographic survey – it effectively established the science. Commanded by Captain Nares (later of Artic fame) HMS Challenger circumnavigated the globe with its onboard laboratory making deep sea observations for the first time. Approaching from the East across the Pacific the Challenger reached Raine Island on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef at the end of August 1874. Dredgings were taken and observations made and recorded by crew member Lord Campbell in his “Log Letters from the Challenger” a copy of which we are never without.

    Lord Campbell’s “Log Letters” record the arrival at Raine Island .. “We Steered for the entrance through the “Great Barrier” reef, 1,300 miles away (they had just left the New Hebrides), where we arrived on the 30th (August 1874), sounding the day after we left in deeper water than we have forun for some time – 2,650 fms., – and six times afterwards in somewhat lesser depths, in which we twice trawled. On that evening we passed Raine Island, which lies on one side of the entrance through and into the maze of reefs, and anchored close to it on a coral patch that night. Raine Island is a small extent of sand on the top of a coral reef, having on some parts of it a foot deep of soil, and is marked by a large beacon-tower built with coral rock by two men-of-war, assisted by artificers from Brisbane in ’48. Wheeling over the ship and island in countless thousands were sea-birds, boobies, terns, frigate- and tropic- birds….. The next morning the ship got under way, and a number of us landed on Raine Island – a wonderful sight indeed! As we landed the terns rose en masse in a cloud, really darkening the light, and perceptibly fanning the air with their wings as they hovered, screaming shrilly, above us.



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  • Rare Shipwreck Item -T. H. Farrer – “Report upon the Formal Investigation held before the Wreck Commissioner into the Supposed Loss of the British Sailing Ship ‘Great Queensland’ of London” – 1877

    Rare Shipwreck Item -T. H. Farrer – “Report upon the Formal Investigation held before the Wreck Commissioner into the Supposed Loss of the British Sailing Ship ‘Great Queensland’ of London” – 1877

    A report pertaining to the matter of a formal investigation held at Westminster on the 9th, 10th and 11th of April 1877, before H. C. Rothery, Wreck Commissioner, assisted by Colonel Younghusband [A Voyager hero], Admiral Powell and Captain Jones, Nautical Assessors, into the circumstances attending the supposed loss of the British sailing ship, ‘Great Queensland‘ of London.

    The Great Queensland, lost from August 12th 1876 on her journey from Grave’s End to Melbourne and last seen off the coast of France, is the subject of a deep investigation as to the possible cause for her disappearance.

    The circumstances of the loss unknown, this report considers in narrative detail the possibility of the ship encountering storms in the region, as well as the crew, cargo and in particular stowage of gunpowder. The report explores potential circumstances for the loss using testimony from chemical experts and eyewitnesses.

    What took the Great Queensland?


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  • Massive Ducretet Gas Discharge Tube – Paris c1890

    Massive Ducretet Gas Discharge Tube – Paris c1890

    This massive discharge tube was made by Eugene Ducretet (1844-1915) a leading French scientific instrument maker who opened his first shop retailing unusual scientific instruments in Paris in 1864. This instrument is engraved with his name E Ducretet A Paris to the top tap.

    It is one of the largest, heaviest and most unconventional discharge tubes we have seen. Standing 60 cms high an in pretty good condition for its age – we have left the brass work as we found it – the threads to the vacuum inlet work albeit stiff and the thread to the to mount are in very good condition. The extremely thick glass tube is at a slight angle but the seals appear intact. A very rare scientific collectable from the early days of gas discharge experiments.

    Flash Gas Tube from 19thC Paris


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  • Thin Geological Section Microscope Slides -1913 – Set of Five

    Thin Geological Section Microscope Slides -1913 – Set of Five

    A group of five thin section slides from the UK, India and Iceland all nice samples, well labelled and in nice condition

    Obsidian with spherulites from Iceland
    (Spherulites are small rounded bodies that occur in vitreous igneous rocks such as obsidian)

    Chert – Blue Limestone – Somerset
    (This unusual blue coloured limestone is from a Lias Quarry in Shepton Mallet)

    Chloritic Marl – Compton Abbas – Dorset
    (Fossil containing bedrock to the chalk of southern England)

    Anorthite from Salem South India
    (A Gneiss rock structure from the Sittampundi Complex at Salem near Madras)

    Augen Gneiss from Strahnaver, Sutherland, Scotland
    (A Metamorphic rock which is clotted with flesh coloured feldspar “augen”)

    A very good selection


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  • Fine Beam Electron Tube for Weighing the Electron

    Fine Beam Electron Tube for Weighing the Electron

    Fine Beam Electron Tube with Helmholtz Coils of German manufacture likely in the 1960′s

    High Quality, Large Fine Beam Electron Tube with a Pair of Helmholtz coils on original demonstration stand. This device can be used in atomic physics for determining the charge-to-mass ratio e/m of the electron. The device can also be used for other experiments on the electrostatic and magnetic deflection of electron beams. The tube is hydrogen filled with an indirectly heated oxide cathode. The Pressure in the Tube is so adjusted that the electron beam produced remains sharply focused along its entire length at an anode Voltage of 200-300 Volts. The Helmholtz coils consist of 2 circular coils each of 150 Turns and 150mm radius arranged parallel to each other.

    Important Scientific Instrument


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