This microscope tube has a consistent diameter with a projection that moves inside it, housing the eyepiece. The lens is placed at the bottom. The tube is held on a rack mechanism controlled by 2 side screws allowing it to move vertically for macroscopic focusing. The pillar has a hexagonal cross section with a screw at the top for microscopic focusing.
The bottom of the pillar holds the circular stage, which has 2 clips for slides and a central hole allowing light to pass through. Lighting is provided by a round plano-concave mirror located at the bottom of the pillar. The base is a tripod, although it has a double back leg that forms an arch bearing the inscription: "SWIFT & SON. 81 TOTTENHAM. CTR, LONDON W.C."
James Powell Swift founded the company in London in 1853. In 1884 he partnered with his son, Mansell James, and the business was renamed "Swift & Son." During this period they improved the microscope focusing system by replacing the straight axis with a spiral one. They moved to a new store on Tottenham Court Road in 1881, which is the date of the inscription on this piece. In 1891 they made the first microscope with a coupled polarizer-analyzer. The founders and their descendants all died between 1901 and 1942, and the factory was destroyed by a bomb during the Second World War. In 1946 E.R. Watts & Son Ltd. took over the company, combining the names to become "Watts and Swift."