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 Post subject: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:22 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:21 am
Posts: 8
I was bored surfing through Ebay, (a dangerous pastime) when i saw a few vintage swift binocular microscopes and I wondered if they are any good. Then i remembered this forum so i decided my first post would be this question: Are older swift binocular microscopes any good?


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:03 am 
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Posts: 1091
Welcome and congrats on a first post, timemaster. Do you mean: 'compound microsope with a binocular head'? Or do you mean:'stereo binocular microscope'?

Each type of instrument, are each wonderful for work/avocation/and sheer relaxing observing. What type of use do you intend with the Swift microscope which caught your attention?

The seller should have a good 'eBay rating'...there should be an honest and clear statement of the Swift scopes optical and mechanical condition. The seller must answer questions, you should ask questions before you purchase. There should be a return/full refund policy offered by the seller. The seller should know how to safely pack/ship a microscope...or you might just waste time with receiving a damaged scope due shipment trauma. Welcome to forum! Charlie guevara


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:05 am 
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Sorry i totally forgot to state that it was a compound microscope. I have no intention of buying it, I as just wondering if Swift made good binocular microscopes. I already own a microscope...one that needs a bit of work but it is my beloved Nikon S.


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:20 am 
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Posts: 1091
I have a Nikon ske in my stable of stands! Different horses for different courses. Charlie guevara


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:02 am 
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Haha nice!


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:52 pm 
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There were two Swift, microscopes. There was James Swift & Son , London , which ceased to make microscopes in the 60's sometime. The company still exists in the books but must have lapsed trademarks outside of the U.K., or something because a U.S. importer from Texas, started using the name Swift in the 1960's, importing instruments from Japan. I am not sure who made them, it could have been several factories ....lorez would know for sure.

They have generally been good basic microscopes of a sturdy design with adequately good optics but the brand was never on anything above a certain quality level. Current models are stencil models, made in China.


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:11 pm 
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Location: League City, Texas
I have a couple Swift (of the USA variety) stereo microscopes, that I guess are circa 1970, that I obtained for use on experimental homemade mountings for micro-aquarium gazing. I got 'em (eBay of course) because they're cheap. Apo's description is spot on in my experience: sturdy and adequate. My higher quality stereo microscopes provide noticeably better views, but that is not to say the Swifts' are unacceptable. They're very well built, mostly metal, and inside seem to have nice solid prism mounts that hold collimation. Well worth the ~$30 you can get them for with a bit of patience.

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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:21 pm 
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Thank you Mr. Kurt for your opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:19 am 
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Posts: 713
Quote:
I am not sure who made them, it could have been several factories ....lorez would know for sure.


Thanks for the vote of confidence. The USA Swift company had its home office in Boston and the microscope warehouse was in San Jose, CA. The company started importing binoculars, telescopes, and consumer optics such as opera glasses. Microscopes came along after the WW2, as best I remember. The earliest serial number I remember seeing was 1957... a good year for Chevy and Swift. The serial number on the scopes imported by the original company always had the year of mfg. as the first two digits of the serial number. Letters identified factories which were all over Asia. Swift actually specified the designs of the scopes they imported. This is no longer the case with current importers.

The USA Swift brand was targeted at the educational market with a couple of models that were for the veterinary market. They had no desire to do anything else... I know, I asked, but they did what they did better than anyone else who was serving the educational market. They offered a lifetime warranty and stood behind it. There were parts in the warehouse for every model they ever had.

The microscopes were sturdy, well built (for the price point) and because there was amazing support they would last forever. They never claimed to be anything but what they were.

APO is right about the current Swift line. It is made in China and is probably no better than anything else, but the support is gone. The current reps have no idea of the history of the name and know nothing of the models that existed before the sale of the company. I no longer have any affiliation with the brand, but still work on all the old stuff. This in no longer as easy as it was because there are no parts.

lorez


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:53 am 
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So, now I am curious. How did they avoid a trademark clash with James Swift & Son, who continued to mfg. microscopes into the 60's and is still a company owned by Prior Scientific? Maybe because the actual name is sufficiently different?
and I guess they subsequently moved to Texas?


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:10 am 
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I have no idea about any clash with James Swift & Son, but I will guess that Swift Instruments, Inc. with its own unique trademark is probably different enough.

The Swift Instruments I worked with was a family held company that fell on some hard times and was liquidated in the early 2000s.

The purchasing group had offices in Texas and the Swift name, which they purchased was moved to their location.

As I think of Swift, the name is the only thing that did not change.

lorez


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:52 pm 
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Interesting how some companies likes to put a spin on things. The Texas website explicitly states " for over fifty years Swift Instruments has been a global leader in the manufacture and production of quality microscopes", when in fact it sounds like the current company does not manufacture but they do produce, something. What they might be implying though, is that Swift , at one point did have their own manufacturing facilities in Japan? Is that a possibility?


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:28 pm 
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Posts: 128
apochronaut wrote:
Interesting how some companies likes to put a spin on things. The Texas website explicitly states " for over fifty years Swift Instruments has been a global leader in the manufacture and production of quality microscopes", when in fact it sounds like the current company does not manufacture but they do produce, something. What they might be implying though, is that Swift , at one point did have their own manufacturing facilities in Japan? Is that a possibility?

I don't know the details but I am sure that there was some association between Vickers and the Japanese Swift.
... If I can find any substantiating evidence; I will post it.

MichaelG.


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:43 pm 
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Posts: 2330
I have an older Swift stand here that works fine.. It is made in Japan....

BillT


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:49 pm 
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Posts: 128
Here is the manual for the Swift M3200 ... printed in Japan
https://www.swift-microscopeworld.com/Images/Manuals/Swift%20M3200%20Manual.pdf

Admittedly not a guarantee that the instrument was made there; but a substantial hint.

MichaelG.


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:52 pm 
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My point was not that Swift weren't Made in Japan rather, it was whether they had manufacturing facilities there. In other words did Swift ever own a microscope factory, as is more or less claimed by the current owners of the trademark, or did they simply have an existing company, make scopes for them.


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:57 pm 
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Location: Cumbria, UK
Hi, I had a Swift M4000D for a while that had the capability for phase contrast and a limited darkfield. What I can say is that is was a very nicely engineered 'scope, with beautifully smooth focus.
The image however was definitely inferior to for example the Leitz SM-LUX - the 'all in one' condenser and lack of field-iris, together with relatively inferior objectives handicapped this otherwise well-built 'scope. A respectable 'scope yes, but definitely not going to satisfy for long as you improve your technique and deepen your interest in microscopy...

Here's a picture of the one I had - I enjoyed it while I had it but soon 'grew out of it'...
Attachment:
ws_swift  scope (1).jpg
ws_swift scope (1).jpg [ 145.84 KiB | Viewed 167 times ]


A couple of images from it via a ToupCam eyepiece CMOS camera, when I first got it,
Attachment:
ws_m4000d-0001.jpg
ws_m4000d-0001.jpg [ 252.66 KiB | Viewed 167 times ]

Attachment:
ws_tv_swiftpics_-0006.jpg
ws_tv_swiftpics_-0006.jpg [ 137.11 KiB | Viewed 167 times ]


The version I had was also able to give phase contrast and a limited darkfield - probably compromising the brightfield images somewhat as the objectives were phase contrast objectives on the x10 and the x40s.
A phase contrast image,
Attachment:
ws_phase-cells-mystery-2.jpg
ws_phase-cells-mystery-2.jpg [ 162.91 KiB | Viewed 167 times ]


A darkfield image,
Attachment:
ws_tv_swiftpics_-0005.jpg
ws_tv_swiftpics_-0005.jpg [ 82.9 KiB | Viewed 167 times ]


A good starter-'scope though - and unlikely to fall apart easily!

John B. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:12 pm 
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Posts: 128
apochronaut wrote:
My point was not that Swift weren't Made in Japan rather, it was whether they had manufacturing facilities there. In other words did Swift ever own a microscope factory, as is more or less claimed by the current owners of the trademark, or did they simply have an existing company, make scopes for them.

Ahh! ... That's probably question with a much more complicated answer.

Now; regarding the possible Swift/Vickers connection: Aside from some mentions of reciprocal marketing arrangements, the best I can find tonight is this ...
Quote:
At some stage, Vickers started importing Vickers-badged compound microscopes from Japan. Designated as ML1300 and ML3000 they look similar to Meiji Instruments of the same period. Perhaps this was a prelude to the eventual demise of Vickers Instruments as a microscope manufacturer and its subsequent sale to Bio-Rad Laboratories in 1988.

Source: http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artjan10/dh-vickers-m75.html
... which doesn't really get us much further.

MichaelG.


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 Post subject: Re: Swift-Binoculars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:48 am
Posts: 713
Quote:
Interesting how some companies likes to put a spin on things. The Texas website explicitly states " for over fifty years Swift Instruments has been a global leader in the manufacture and production of quality microscopes", when in fact it sounds like the current company does not manufacture but they do produce, something. What they might be implying though, is that Swift , at one point did have their own manufacturing facilities in Japan? Is that a possibility?


The web site of the current Swift name is not wrong, but is stretching the facts a bit. First, before the original Swift went bankrupt due to poor fiscal management it was a global leader in the distribution of educational microscopes. During the time I was involved, but not employed by, Swift had their products made to their specifications in a variety of Asian factories. They were favored customers, but not owners.

When the Swift name was purchased by a Chinese concern it became part of a larger family and now the scopes are manufactured by the group that owns the name.

The early Swift microscopes were made in Japan and as the Asian market developed more production was move to cheaper sources.

lorez


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