Lafayette 1500x manual

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Traleah
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Lafayette 1500x manual

#1 Post by Traleah » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:25 am

So, today my dad showed me a microscope he’s had in storage for years after it was given to him by his brother. It’s a Lafayette 1500x. From searching this forum, I was able to track down an old catalog listing. However, I have not been able to find any manuals on line. Does anyone have a link to a manual for this microscope? I’ve seen similar models on eBay, but this one looks different under the stage to my untrained eyes.

I’ll try to post a couple of pictures.

Thanks!

Traleah
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:46 pm
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Re: Lafayette 1500x manual

#2 Post by Traleah » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:46 am

Here are a couple of pictures:
Lafayette 1500x.jpg
Lafayette 1500x.jpg (72.25 KiB) Viewed 319 times
Laf1500x2.jpg
Laf1500x2.jpg (40.05 KiB) Viewed 319 times
Laf cat pic.png
Laf cat pic.png (484.04 KiB) Viewed 319 times
Thanks for looking.

PeteM
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Re: Lafayette 1500x manual

#3 Post by PeteM » Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:05 am

Pretty sure that was from Lafayette Radio - an early electronics retailer mostly on the East Coast. Similar models likely imported from Japan by other retailers.

It's pretty simple - the only modest complication (and perhaps an upgrade from the catalog picture) is that it has a condenser attached to the underside of the stage rather than just a rotating disk with holes in it. Big lever should be focus. Little one the iris.

Traleah
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:46 pm
Location: SE WA State

Re: Lafayette 1500x manual

#4 Post by Traleah » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:29 pm

Thanks, Pete. Hopefully, I’ll be able to fiddle with the microscope next time my dad pulls the box out.

apochronaut
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Re: Lafayette 1500x manual

#5 Post by apochronaut » Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:02 pm

In the 1950's, the Japanese evolved a sort of standardized series of microscope optics, descending from R.M.S. Eyepieces were in 2mm increments of 19,17 and 15mm. Objectives , from maybe even down to 13mm with the very best being R.M.S. These were used to build a series of hobby microscopes based on the maximum magnification the microscope was capable of, with some of the little 300X kits weighing only about 2 lbs. in a wooden case. Carton Optical and Kyowa were the principal makers , with each badging dozens of brand names. Generally Carton made those of hobby grade and Kyowa what might be called, student grade. The hobby microscopes had lighter castings and hollow mouldings with controls and fittings of marginal precision. The student scopes were heavier and fairly precise.Tasco, Sears, Selsi, Edmund and Lafayette were some of the common stencil brands. Occasionally you will see C.O.C., which stands for Carton Optical Company. There were two groups of designs reflecting the requirements of the intended user base.. Those with primarily chip lenses which were ganged in the barrel, to increase magnification. These were uniform bi-convex lenses of several primary magnifications, stacked in the barrels with brass shims. There was some attempt to design air spaced doublets but generally there was a lot of chromatism and peripheral distortion with tiny f's.o.v. Some higher magnification objectives had sealed front lenses The N.A's. were low and the combination of eyepieces and objectives created many unrealistic extreme, empty , magnifications. Models were usually 300X, 450X, 600X, 750X, 900X, 1200X, 1500X and 2000X. Carton made the smaller stands and Kyowa the larger ones. They or other companies may have cooperated and or purchased components from jobbers. Later into the 70's, cheap zoom designs for the eyepieces arrived. They had tiny fields and poor quality. The same instrument with separate eyepieces was fairly useful. The zooms, not often.

The second group were also diminutive but of heavier castings and more precise fittings. The objectives and eyepieces were of more precise designs and doublets were common in the objectives.

These were all metal microscopes but by into the 70's , plastic started creeping in and the better versions with fine focuers, 1200X up to the R.M.S. became uncommon. As Japanese labour became more expensive , producing such instruments at department store pricing became impossible. Carton eventually moved to Thailand and Kyowa probably stopped doing stencil brands, focusing on specific areas of microscopy. Edmund kept up a line of student scopes and Tasco persists with a very cheap line .
Many of those old scopes are not too bad if you only use about 1/2 or less of the stated magnification. Ridiculously, many of the kits had 20X huygens eyepieces.

Traleah
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:46 pm
Location: SE WA State

Re: Lafayette 1500x manual

#6 Post by Traleah » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:03 am

Wow, thank you for all of that detail! I wonder if there is a way to tell the age of the microscope by the number. I think there were 5x, 10x, and 15x eyepieces along with 5, 10, 40 and 100xoil objectives. I could be wrong, though. I need to take a closer look.

BramHuntingNematodes
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Re: Lafayette 1500x manual

#7 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:19 am

I have an mid century Selsi japanese scope with these miniature objectives. It's an impressively solid toy and does indeed come with a 20x eyepiece. Beyond the resolution, I think you would need a heliostat to bounce rays direct from the sun to see with it. Very heavily built though, and with an adorable wooden case.
1942 Bausch and Lomb Series T Dynoptic, Custom Illumination

apochronaut
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Re: Lafayette 1500x manual

#8 Post by apochronaut » Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:31 am

That 1500X one was almost for sure made by Kyowa. I have seen it before with another name on it but the fittings, base and machinings are all Kyowa. It was quite heavily built and sported an unusual 75X dry R.M.S. objective.
It was not the manufacturers who chose the design principals for the microscopes. It was the buyers and marketers of the various companies who ordered their production. Lafayette would have said to either Carton or Kyowa : can you make a consistent looking range of microscopes from 300X to 2000X with our name on it, and bought the minimum of each in order to get the best price break. Whoever had the production contract would have subbed part of the production out to the other company or purchased the parts and done the assembly in house. The latter makes the most sense, if the enamelling and lettering is consisent.
Tasco, well known for their line of cheapies , were most certainly produced by Carton mostly. The lineup pinnacled at the the 1200X , sporting 3 eyepieces and a 4 objective turret. The 60X objective with a sealed front lens in a ferrule is actually not too bad when used with the 8X W.F. eyepiece. Later the zoom version was cheaper to make but poorer. What isn't generally known about Tasco is that they also sold a line of heavy bodied student microscopes and a minimal line of R.M.S. monocular lab microscopes . There is a subtle shift in their design and construction. The paint looks the same, in some cases showing all the magnifications on the front of the ocular tube like the hobby scopes but the construction more professional. They made a small 300X student microscope in a hardwood case that is exceptional. It has first rate optics and an out of character grey enamel finish on a very heavy cast iron base. If I were to try to name a mfg. on that one, I would say Tiyoda based on the casting designs. I think it showed up iñ one or two larger versions too. The 300X would be an excellent cheap field microscope.

Traleah
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:46 pm
Location: SE WA State

Re: Lafayette 1500x manual

#9 Post by Traleah » Sat Oct 03, 2020 5:04 am

Too bad there is not a section of this forum with detailed microscope histories with pictures. I’m not sure why, but I really enjoy reading the background on the microscopes - their manufacturing trail, rationale for designs, and uses... I suppose there are way too many variations to cover every make and model, though. Plus, a lot probably has to do with the presentation and context of the material.

When I get a better look at my dad’s microscope, I’ll take more pictures and note what’s still in the box.

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