Microscopes : A Century of Progress
Object ID Number:
Object Name:
Monocular Student Microscope
John W. Sidle & Co. Lancaster, PA
Date of Manufacture:
1878/ /
Manufactured from:
Manufactured to:
Description / History:
This brass, monocular microscope was designed by John W. Sidle in 1878 in Lancaster, PA with the help of Mr. Poalk. It was one of the first inexpensive scopes made for medical students, and was referred to as the "Acme Microscope". Later versions included interchangeable parts. In 1882, James W. Queen & Co. took over the manufacturing of Sidle and Poalk's Acme microscopes, which they continued to sell into the 20th century. There are few of these microscopes left today. One is in the collection of the EHMHF, donated by Dr. William Atlee of Lancaster, PA. This microscope was used for many years by the Atlee doctors. Another model can be seen at the Walter Reed Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
H–13.75 W–5.25 D–8 inches
Additional Information:
In 1878 a medical school professor, J. E. Smith, while attending a microscopal meeting, complained abouth the high cost of custom made microscopes for medical students. John S. Sidle took up the challenge and teamed up with Mr. Poalk and designed this inexpensive microscope.

They designed five different microscopes, however the first model was never manufactured. In 1878, they bagan to manufacture their microscopes in Lancaster, PA, at their Cherry and James Streets location.

By employing mass production techniques, Mr. John Sidle and Mr. Poalk contributed to improved medical teaching of the day, by manufacturing here in Lancaster and inexpensive microscope for medical students.

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