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Rocking microtome, England, 1930-1950

The razor of this microtome is fixed and the specimen to be sliced for microscopic examination passes up and down in an arc of a circle across the razor in a rocking motion. Fixed on to a table, the ribbons of specimen fell to the desk top then were cut and mounted on to slides. Typical specimens include human and animal body tissues and plants which could be studied by histologists in laboratories and, later, hospitals. The rocking microtome was invented by Sir Horace Darwin (1851-1928), the son of Charles Darwin. It was sold from 1885 onwards and was still available in the early twentieth century.

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: histology

The study of the structure of tissues by means of special staining techniques combined with light and electron microscopy.

Glossary: microtome

An instrument used to cut thin sections of biological material so that they can be examined under a microscope.