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Scientific, Instrument, Magnifying Glass on Candle Stand, Brass, 20th Century


Magnifying Glass and Candleholder on Adjustable Stand
20th Century
11.25 inches high, 12.25 inches wide (extended outwards), 5 inches deep

Available for prop rental or purchase; please inquire.

An unusual magnifying glass device on an adjustable brass stand. that also has a bobeche socket for holding a candle as well as an open dish-form cupped support. The components of the stand have numerous connections and joints for adjustment in various directions and angles, and the candleholder is adjustable in height on a stem. The device has an incurved triform base with tapering rounded feet.

It has been suggested to our gallery that the cupped support was intended to hold a glass sphere. In this view, a candle in the candleholder would be used to provide light to be focused or directed on an object or instrument through the magnifying glass and/or alternatively through the glass sphere. The device thus would have been used in connection with a microscope to focus or direct light on the microscope reflective mirror or slide. Accordingly, the magnifying glass would act like a microscope bullseye or bench condenser lens on an adjustable stand. By analogy, the glass sphere would similarly be used in the manner that a shoemaker might use such a sphere to focus candlelight on his work. A related alternate theory would be that the device would not be used with a microscope; rather the magnifying glass would just be employed directly to magnify an object and the glass sphere and candle would lluminate the object being viewed under the magnifying glass.

Product description continues below.


Magnifiers and lenses on stands are constructed to be hands-free and steady when in use. Frequently made of brass, the stands are often adjustable vertically and horizontally as well as at various angles. Many adjustable stands work on the principle of sliding rods (stems) that can be moved or rotated by loosening and tightening a thumb or set screw (bolt). Others have a ball and socket joint to move in a variety of directions. Laboratory and other utilitarian magnifiers are often comprised of an adjustable arm (stiff or gooseneck) set on a weighted iron base. They frequently exhibit an Art Deco, Modernist, or Machine Age style. Slightly more complex lenses on stands include those with a built-in oil lamp or candle socket for illumination of the object being magnified.

Lenses on stands are in four basic categories:

  • Magnifying glasses
  • Microscope condensers
  • Optical instruments
  • Lenses for lighting devices, and other miscellaneous lenses

Magnifying lenses on stands are instruments for jewelers, engravers, collectors of coins or stamps, scientists, and others who need to inspect or work with tiny objects without having to hold a magnifying glass in one hand. They can also be used magnify words or images that are too small to otherwise read or discern. We also offer magnifying glasses with a handle, of typical form, to be hand held for magnification purposes. Please contact us concerning our current inventory.

Microscope condensers on stands are an external accessory for use with microscopes, generally with a convex lens to concentrate light. Inasmuch as they distort the image when used with the naked eye, they do not serve well as magnifiers. Microscopes and their condensers are usually made of brass, in a rich yellow lacquer finish. The basic form is a round base with a vertical stem, holding an adjustable lens on another stem. Magnifying glasses mimicking this form are also commonly encountered, but unlike the condensers have a magnifying lens, rather than a concave lens to concentrate light.

Optical instruments encompass a wide range of magnifiers, lenses (and mirrors) on stands used in the study of science to show principles of light refraction, reflection, etc. They are often used in experiments or as demonstration devices. This category also includes magnifiers resembling condensers on brass stands used for optical demonstrations. Demonstration instruments sometimes consist of sets to be lined up in a row in front of a light source. Others are multiple lenses in a row on a single stand or bench. Some optical instruments are intended to be used with related accessories.

Lenses for lighting and other miscellaneous types of lenses on stands include lenses for projecting, altering, or enhancing a light source such as a maritime search or signal light or theatrical lighting.

Condition:  Generally very good with overall light wear from handling and usage.

Additional information


20th Century