Parts of a Microtome
Found in: Microscopy Basics, Videos


A hand microtome (or cylinder microtome) is a device used to make thin cuts of a specimen for microscopic observations. In the video I am unpacking a new hand microtome and showing the different parts.

  • The clamp: This one is optional, but very useful. It holds the microtome to a table. It adds stability and convenience, thereby making the microtome cuts more reproducible.
  • The knife: This one looks like an old fashioned razor knife.
  • The microtome: It has a central hole into which to place the specimen. A screw at the opposite end moves a piston up, which in turn pushes the specimen up. The plate of the microtome acts as a guide for the knife.
  • The mold: A small brass cylinder serves as a mold for making paraffin blocks containing the specimen. This paraffin block is then inserted into the hole of the microtome.


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