Microscope Museum

Collection of antique microscopes and other scientific instruments



Serial numbers of antique microscope makers

Serial numbers engraved on antique and vintage microscopes may allow to date the instruments to a good level of accuracy, although some makers used serial numbers in a somewhat inconsistent way. From this page, you can access several plots that may help dating microscopes of some important makers (Bausch & Lomb, James Smith, Smith Beck & Beck, RJ Beck, Leitz, Reichert, Watson, and Zeiss; please click on the links above to access these plots for each microscope maker). Most associations between the dates and serial numbers were based on the excellent book by Brian Bracegirdle ‘Notes on modern microscope manufacturers’, published by the Quekett Microscopical Club in 1996.