6 Mar 2023
by John L. Hutchison

infocus #69 March 2023 Bugs up close

During the early days of the RMS, its (mainly wealthy) gentlemen, since women weren’t allowed to attend, would meet regularly, when members would discuss their latest microscopes and share some of their observations, which would most likely be hand-drawn at the time.


Obtaining interesting specimens was more of a challenge however, as many of the members had neither the skill nor time to spend mounting slides with suitable  materials. The Victorian fashion of examining novel objects was also an influence behind the appearance of professional slide mounters in the mid-1800s who, recognising a potentially large market opportunity, began to prepare slides of a wide variety of objects. These slides, mainly 3 x 1 inches in size following the adoption of the (still widely used today) ‘RMS standard’, have survived in large numbers and provide a fascinating insight into the early days of ‘popular’ microscopy, and of the RMS.