Skip to main content

Mechanics Institute student microscope

 Collection — Carton: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0306

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of a miniature microscope in a small custom made wooden box. The box contains the microscope (looks like brass), a pair of tweezers (to pick up specimens) and 2 glass slides.


  • Creation: circa 1895

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

The Mechanics Institute, established to provide needed technical training for skilled workers in industry, was founded in 1885 by Captain Henry Lomb, Max Lowenthal, Ezra Andrews, Frank Ritter, William Peck, and other Rochester businessmen and other influential citizens. The first class offered at the newly formed Mechanics Institute was mechanical drawing, held in the evening on November 23, 1885. The community response was overwhelming. More than 400 students enrolled in the Institute. Lomb was the first president of the Board of Trustees and guided the direction of the Institute until his death in 1908. Eugene Colby was appointed first teacher and principal of the Mechanics Institute. All funds for running the school were donated by the citizens of Rochester and instruction was free for the first year.

In 1886, Fine Arts classes were added to the Institute's course offerings. Included were freehand drawing, architectural drawing, and design. Tuition was $8 a term for drawing, $12 for painting and modeling. Evening classes were free. The Mechanics Institute flourished, and in 1891, it merged with the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics' Association to form the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute, bringing under one roof cultural education and practical technical training.


1 Item(s) (1 File box)




Microscope belonging to a student of the Mechanics Institute.


Collection consists of one item.

Physical Location

C.S. South, East wall, Shelf E82

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number(s): 07:82

The Mechanics Institute student microscope was donated to the RIT Archives by Barbara Ward in 2007.


Microscope measures 6 x 2 inches in case measuring 6.5 x 2 inches.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Amy Vilz in November 2011.

Mechanics Institute student microscope
RIT Archives
Amy Vilz
16 November 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA