plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
Cleaning antique microscope
I have just obtained my great-grandfather's R&J Beck microscope made in the late 19th century. It is all brass and VERY tarnished. MY questions are: Wasn't lacquer used then, and if so, is it possible that there is dirt over the lacquer? Should I chance polishing it myself? Also what is best way to clean optics, I don't know about optical coatings back then. I am never going to sell it and want to use it. Maybe I should leave it alone, but doesn't oxidation get worse?
Thanks,James D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Manchester, New Hampshire
Yes, lacquer was used at the turn of last century, I don't think there is a problem with dirt on the lacquer - the lacquer has likely disintegrated many years ago. I'd think you could try polishing the tarnished areas with Brasso [affil link] or Tarn-X [affil link] Tarn-X, if it doesn't look right or is too time consuming, someone in your area will do it for you. Sorry, I'm not familiar with optic coatings, but I think they usually use a very flat black color to help stop the light from reflecting.
Good luck,Jake Koch
G. J. Nikolas &Co.,Inc.
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