A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

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ebenbildmicroscopy
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A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#1 Post by ebenbildmicroscopy » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:52 am

Because I apprenticed in machining at Carolina Biological Supply Co., Wolfe microscopes hold a dear spot in my heart. Today, the machine shop/microscope repair dept. has been discontinued but, when I was there, I was fortunate to work with the very last Wolfe scopes made by Kyowa Optical from Japan.

I found this little 1970s student POL Wolfe on Fleabay for just $19 - looks like it's barely been used - how could I resist letting her follow me home? It cost as much to ship as I paid for the scope!!! The fine focus and condenser sleeve are frozen up but, with a little solvent and elbow grease and a good honing to the fine focus dovetail, it'll be just like new.

Carolina Biological trademarked their Wolfe house-brand of microscopes in the early 1960s and they were made then, exclusively by Karl Kapps in Wetzlar, Germany... in the shadow of the huge Leitz Werke. In the late '60s, CBS began looking for a more affordable supplier and found it in Kyowa. At that time, Kyowa was also making the Bausch and Lomb Galen II. Kapps and Kyowa are still making microscopes today, but you're gonna really pay for 'em! The Wolfe line now are, I believe, exclusively re-branded Motic.

For scale, the last pic shows the Wolfe Pol standing head-to-head with a little AO Fifty (phase contrast) from my collection.
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JeffO, aka "Ortho amore"
Leitz Ortholux I
Leitz Orthoplan
Leitz Macro-Dia Device
Zeiss GFL
Zeiss Standard
Zeiss Photomicroscope III
Zeiss OPMI 6S
B&L Stereozoom and Balplan

MicroBob
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Re: A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#2 Post by MicroBob » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:38 am

Thank you for showing!
It's always nice to find an old instrument in as-new-condition.

Most polarizing microscopes have clearly visible and adjustable polarizers, here I can't see them. Does it have polarizers?

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ebenbildmicroscopy
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Re: A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#3 Post by ebenbildmicroscopy » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:00 pm

MicroBob wrote:Thank you for showing!
It's always nice to find an old instrument in as-new-condition.

Most polarizing microscopes have clearly visible and adjustable polarizers, here I can't see them. Does it have polarizers?
Yes - it has simple film polarizing filters: one is mounted in the the stand, above the exit pupil of the objective turret and the other is mounted in a 1/4 turn housing below the single lens condenser. Additionally, there is a cross hair reticle mounted in the 10X eyepiece. The stage rotates through 360 degrees without a stop but has provision for an additional filter or pinhole/target in it's center.
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JeffO, aka "Ortho amore"
Leitz Ortholux I
Leitz Orthoplan
Leitz Macro-Dia Device
Zeiss GFL
Zeiss Standard
Zeiss Photomicroscope III
Zeiss OPMI 6S
B&L Stereozoom and Balplan

mnmyco
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Re: A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#4 Post by mnmyco » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:20 pm

I think I found the same listing. Seriously thinking of buying one.

mnmyco

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ebenbildmicroscopy
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Re: A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#5 Post by ebenbildmicroscopy » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:33 pm

mnmyco wrote:I think I found the same listing. Seriously thinking of buying one.

mnmyco
GRAB IT! I think there's only 1 left... started out as 4. The one I got is pretty stiff - it's not completely frozen up but if you buy that one, I'll do a post about servicing it. The little Kyowa student microscopes are simple to work on.
JeffO
JeffO, aka "Ortho amore"
Leitz Ortholux I
Leitz Orthoplan
Leitz Macro-Dia Device
Zeiss GFL
Zeiss Standard
Zeiss Photomicroscope III
Zeiss OPMI 6S
B&L Stereozoom and Balplan

mnmyco
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:03 pm

Re: A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#6 Post by mnmyco » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:21 am

What moves on these little guys, the stage or the head/nose piece? I am particularly interested in using my Canon D60 with an eyepiece adapter, but it is heavy and I don't have the setup to support the cameras weight if the microscope cannot.

mnmyco

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ebenbildmicroscopy
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Re: A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#7 Post by ebenbildmicroscopy » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:55 am

mnmyco wrote:What moves on these little guys, the stage or the head/nose piece? I am particularly interested in using my Canon D60 with an eyepiece adapter, but it is heavy and I don't have the setup to support the cameras weight if the microscope cannot.

mnmyco
It is the stand that is rigid on these scopes and Kyowa made a straight photo-tube for them, HOWEVER, they are VERY DIFFICULT to find! The stage moves for both course and fine focus. These stands are very rigid but they are also aluminum and, at an angle, would NOT be sufficient to support a heavy camera.

My primary scopes are the Leitz Ortholux I and Orthoplan which are rigid stands usually featuring the trinocular head as a standard feature. I'm currently using a Canon Rebel T3i and the Ortholux is a wonderful platform for it. The Canon is reasonably lightweight but even with after-market battery packs, can start to add up in weight.

In your case, definitely seek an arrangement that utilizes the camera in a turn key vertical mount.
JeffO, aka "Ortho amore"
Leitz Ortholux I
Leitz Orthoplan
Leitz Macro-Dia Device
Zeiss GFL
Zeiss Standard
Zeiss Photomicroscope III
Zeiss OPMI 6S
B&L Stereozoom and Balplan

Scarodactyl
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Re: A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#8 Post by Scarodactyl » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:24 am

Aha, that explains why I keep seeing Wolfe branded stuff in the greater Raleigh/Chapel Hill area. Kyowa has made lots of cool stuff over the years. Good to know these were made to a good standard and supplied by a reputable company, not just another housebranded cheap Chinese scope.

mnmyco
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Re: A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#9 Post by mnmyco » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:57 pm

Well, I bought one. $20 cost and $20 shipping is really not bad. Looks like I definitely got the same listing, and you are right, it is gone now so I think I got the last one. Pretty exited for this. If you have any time to take some photos through it I would love to see them.

Now I just need to get my hands on phase contrast and I am set. Well, unless I someday get rich enough to buy DIC and Hoffman Modulation Contrast (both trans and epi).

mnmyco

mnmyco
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Re: A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#10 Post by mnmyco » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:50 pm

It is supposed to arrive Monday!

mnmyco

mnmyco
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Re: A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#11 Post by mnmyco » Wed Oct 17, 2018 6:48 pm

It was in good condition, except for two minor issues. The cross hair lens was originally glued and has come loose (any glue suggestions?) and the knob on the quarter turning filter beneath the stage is broken off. That broken off piece will be a pain to get out. Probably going to have to use a tiny drill bit to drill out the broken piece.

mnmyco

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ebenbildmicroscopy
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Re: A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#12 Post by ebenbildmicroscopy » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:01 am

mnmyco wrote:It was in good condition, except for two minor issues. The cross hair lens was originally glued and has come loose (any glue suggestions?) and the knob on the quarter turning filter beneath the stage is broken off. That broken off piece will be a pain to get out. Probably going to have to use a tiny drill bit to drill out the broken piece.

mnmyco
Alas, mine had the same reticle gluing issue... the reticle is smaller than the field stop of the eyepiece so you need to fill that void with a bushing so the reticle will be centered. Once centered, it can be held in place with a couple of very minute drops of c.a. glue...

I'll make a deal with you - (since I feel like I encouraged you to purchase this scope) - I'll repair my eyepiece as I described and swap it out with yours and I'll make a copy of my substage filter knob out of stainless steel that you can install in your substage - free of charge, if you cover shipping. Bear with me because it'll probably take me a month or so to get out to the machine shop and turn the duplicate knob on the lathe. I have not tried to remove the knob on mine so I don't know what the thread is on the end.

PM me if you need help in drilling out the broken off knob... I may just end up swapping out that assembly with yours as well. I can machine it out eventually, just too many things going on!
JeffO, aka "Ortho amore"
Leitz Ortholux I
Leitz Orthoplan
Leitz Macro-Dia Device
Zeiss GFL
Zeiss Standard
Zeiss Photomicroscope III
Zeiss OPMI 6S
B&L Stereozoom and Balplan

mnmyco
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:03 pm

Re: A hidden gem of superior optics - Wolfe/Kyowa

#13 Post by mnmyco » Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:58 pm

Sounds good. I used a tiny 1.3 mm drill bit and a hand push drill to drill out the majority of the piece. A trade sounds good. Just let me know what parts you want to swap. You might need to re-tap the hole for the knob in the condenser. I tried to be careful, but I probably brushed up against it with the drill bit. I think it is tap right? I cannot keep the terms straight.

mnmyco

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