Fisher Scientific Micromaster Microscopes

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Scoper
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Fisher Scientific Micromaster Microscopes

#1 Post by Scoper » Sat Feb 10, 2024 8:04 pm

Could someone discuss the subject of the Fisher Scientific Micromaster series of scopes?

I would be interested in hearing the history, age and build quality of this line.

From what I have seen, they seem to be a line of stencil scopes from about 10-15 years ago.

Thanks

PeteM
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Re: Fisher Scientific Micromaster Microscopes

#2 Post by PeteM » Sat Feb 10, 2024 9:36 pm

I've fixed up a handful of them for "Micronauts" -- mostly the earlier Japanese-made models rather than the later Chinese ones. Decent scopes, somewhat like an Olympus BH2 in size and aspirations, but falling short in a few ways. The mechanical design is fiddly, with things like stages and condenser racks easily becoming out of alignment over time. That's fixable but time-consuming. No Kohler illumination. The objectives are a bit behind equivalent Olympus achromats and plan achromats. Most of these scopes probably ended up in schools, where they typically saw hard use.

Scoper
Posts: 151
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Re: Fisher Scientific Micromaster Microscopes

#3 Post by Scoper » Sat Feb 10, 2024 11:20 pm

Thanks for responding…

What differences did you see in the Japanese versus Chinese manufactured scopes?

No Kohler? I thought the scopes I saw did have Kohler.

Objectives I have seen have been the plan Chinese objectives common at the time 2000-2010?.

Thanks

PeteM
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Re: Fisher Scientific Micromaster Microscopes

#4 Post by PeteM » Sun Feb 11, 2024 1:37 am

I thought the Japanese-made scopes were a little bit better. Not sure when manufacturing switched to China - probably over a decade ago? It could also be that some later versions added a field aperture.

Scoper
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Re: Fisher Scientific Micromaster Microscopes

#5 Post by Scoper » Sun Feb 11, 2024 2:11 am

Interesting..I think there were different versions of the Micromaster..may be with different features.

I have always found it interesting when a company switches production from one country to another country for cheaper labor costs. The change may or may not include physical changes to the product (cheaper materials, cheaper objectives/eyepieces, cheaper accessories such light sources).

Anyone with thoughts on this subject in regards to the Big 4 as they have moved production around?

Thanks

apochronaut
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Re: Fisher Scientific Micromaster Microscopes

#6 Post by apochronaut » Sun Feb 11, 2024 11:47 am

I can't think of too many instances where a company has changed production from one company to another and not adopted an entirely different design. The Galen microscope, Bausch & Lomb's 2nd tier model had one incarnation that was very similar to a Micromaster model. The Galen started out as a slightly modified Olympus KH, then when they jumped ship to Kyowa it was an entirely different Galen II, followed by the Galen III out of China. B & L may have been just about the earliest big company to market a Chinese stencil scope. The Galen III became a Cambridge microscope eventually and I'm pretty sure Leica too because I have seen after market parts for it branded Leica. Bausch & Lomb itself ended life in the AO factory and one of their items, those fantastic 15X U.W.F. eyepieces over time had 4 brands on it.at least , FJW Industries, Bausch & Lomb, Reichert, Leica, maybe Cambridge and the last ones were made in the AO factory. The ATC 2000, the 45mm parfocal infinity corrected student scope introduced to replace the 150 started it's life out of the Buffalo plant. Most, if not all were branded Leica because I think it didn't arrive until after the merger but it finished it's life in India. Same microscope though. Indian made objectives using the same corrections subsequently showed up on at least one microscope made and branded for LW Scientific, who have a long history of changing suppliers and designs. The microscope in question is still made in China as a high end research stand primarily for domestic sale but is available from a Chinese supplier. It also showed up branded Prior in England, primarily as a polarizing microscope. Chinese made objectives with the suspicious specification of 40X .66 are on a couple of stencil brands, a Euromex for sure and one other I can't remember. Either the design got lifted in India or Leica sold off some designs/patents. A search of some older AO patents still show Leica as the current assignee, though.
Reichert had an ill fated flirtation with China. They produced the series 300, which is like no other Chinese microscope I have ever seen. I suppose it might have been their competitor to the Galen III but few sold and with it's 45mm parfocal 160mm tube, it had no compatability with the other Reichert microscopes.

I once contacted Olympus to find out where they were getting their objectives made and they wouldn't tell me. After a couple of tries , all I got was that Olympus is an international company and we have production facilities in many countries. If you search Made in China for Olympus, dozens of member companies list the Olympus CX 23 as a product that they either mfg. or sell. It is hard to tell in some cases. It seems that Olympus made a deal with the makers of it, that they could make and sell as many of them as they wanted to. I have found no clone of that microscope without the Olympus name on it but that doesn't mean that they don't exist. They would sell many more of them and at a higher price with the Olympus badge on it. The same is likely true with the Zeiss Primostar, which sells for about twice the price of basically the same microscope with none or another name on it.
Nikon clones abound in China and it is pretty clear that whoever makes some Bestscope models also makes for Nikon. Objectives at least. Oddly though, the Nikon clone out of India uses Seiwa optics???
Last edited by apochronaut on Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

Scarodactyl
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Re: Fisher Scientific Micromaster Microscopes

#7 Post by Scarodactyl » Sun Feb 11, 2024 3:52 pm

As far as I can tell Seiwa still only makes metallurgical/laser objectives, mostly but not entirely in the Miutotoyo 95mm standard/space. I have a feeling that that must be crossed wires on their part.

apochronaut
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Re: Fisher Scientific Micromaster Microscopes

#8 Post by apochronaut » Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:09 pm

Yes, i see mostly that under their own Seiwa Correct brand but I have seen Seiwa Correct biological objectives too. They are a jobber as well and will probably make whatever you ask them to, as long as the quantity is enough and you pay them what they need. According to the people at Radical, they make their higher end optics and the list is impressive. They make a point of letting prospective customers know that the optics are Japanese ( Seiwa), including the phase contrast systems.
It isn't unusual for lesser known optical companies to do contract work and most of them would already have the engineering files to come up with almost anything.That can make the difference between staying open and closing the doors when you are underknown and short on agressive distributors. The eastern Ontario Olympus salesman, chased me up and down the 401 in the 90's , trying to sell me something.
Years ago I was potentially looking for a number of iris equipped objectives and just on a whim, I contacted both Seoul Optical, who I knew only from a few school microscopes and Carton Optical and you know what they are famous for. Just to spice it up, I asked for a price to produce iris equipped planapos.They both came back with , yep, we can do that. They couldn't price it out until they had a quantity but one of them, I think it wss Seoul Optical needed a 100 unit minimum. Probably , Carton would have to, had I continued with my ridiculous plan. A C.O.C. planapo, can you imagine that, or a Tasco planapo even better.
I haven't heard much about Seoul Optical for a long time. Perhaps they are what became Selopt.

Scoper
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Re: Fisher Scientific Micromaster Microscopes

#9 Post by Scoper » Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:44 am

Does anyone know who built the Micromaster line of scopes?

And what were the differences between the Micromaster I and Micromaster II?

It would seem that VWR had a similar line of scopes called Vista Vision.

Both seemed to be originally from Japan and then production was moved to China.

Were these scopes some of the first of the move from Japan to China?

apochronaut
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Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 12:15 am

Re: Fisher Scientific Micromaster Microscopes

#10 Post by apochronaut » Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:35 pm

It depends on the era. Originally, Fisher would have sold Bausch & Lomb and AO, perhaps Queen in the earliest years. As U.S. stuff became too expensive after the war , and with the emerging optical industry in Japan, they went to Japan. I see an older Japanese one that may be a modified Olympus KH . There were many options in Japan. Nippon Kogaku would have been too expensive and was wrapped up with Erenreich Photo Optical Industries as a sole distributor but Olympus, Fuji, Yashima, Asahi, Kyowa, Topcon, Carton, Shimadzu and others were all possibilities. Some of those, like Fuji were only brief players. Kyowa was a big co-manufacturer as was Carton. I see several Micromasters that were Kyowa. Less expensive, monoculars might have been Carton but the two companies shared components, so it is hard to tell certain of their stands apart. There would have been more than one supplier at any given time in order to cover the range and I have this sense that there may have been a brief Korean involvement. In the 80's , Seoul Optical and maybe others suppled some educational microscopes to North America. From the 90's on it would have been initially Hong Kong ; Motic and then China. China has a little different production scheme than Japan. While Japan had component jobbers, so two brands could have the same focusing knobs or even objectives, in China, two factories can be supplied with the same components for assembly and put out virtually the same microscope with very minor, mostly cosmetic differences. It makes tracking down an infividual manufactory pretty difficult and a certain stencil model might all of a sudden change very slightly because production was moved to a different plant. They really have a gift for a planned economy, the Japanese never had a yen for.

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