The petrographic microscope, designed to observe and measure the optical properties of minerals as a means of identifying them, has provided a foundation for mineralogical and petrological research for more than 120 years. Much of what is known today in these fields is attributable to this instrument, the development of which paralleled an evolution of fundamental optical theory and its correlation with mineral structure and composition. This instrument and its related accessories have evolved through a range of models and designs, which are in themselves distinctive for their scientific function and elegant construction, and are today prized by collectors of scientific instruments.
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The petrographic microscope: Evolution of a mineralogical research instrument