American Optical Spencer Model 860 Sliding Microtome Demo



Hello. Welcome to New Life Scientific. I'm Steve. Today we wanted to show you off a unique piece that we got in a Spencer sliding microtone model 860 sold market by American Optical out of Buffalo, New York. As I said, this came in on some surplus equipment we got in. I'm a big fan of working on microtones, so I couldn't resist. This unit needed a lot of attention, a few parts, but got the thing back together and actually working very well. This design goes back to pre 1938. We're guessing this was made in the 50s, maybe right after the war. The 40s, late 40s into the 50s. As I said, it is a Spencer sliding microtone and as the name suggests, it does its cutting by in a sliding motion. 

When you go back, the click you just heard is it raising the specimen to the knife and as you pull it will slide that up. And if I had a brush, I could get that. And I don't have the sample well surfaced yet, but as you can see, it's doing a nice uniform cut. This one has the dry ice, so it'll harden up your stamp a little bit more. Gorgeous way it's designed and built, everything works nice and smooth very easily. There's your micron adjustment there's. We're going out to ten. We were up at what appeared to be two microns there's ten. And all the way out to 40 was this adjustment. There's your manual raise lever there. So when you pull it's actually raised that knife up. You can also change the attack of the sample or the knife. 

Actually, samples don't attack. Knives attack anyway. By moving your levers there, I'm having to loose because this is sort of a balance system. You have to loosen some up to get others and as you turn of a source, you're seeing that move then in your various directions. So fully articulating. This is not all original equipment. We did have to manufacture some items, which was mostly these two knobs here. There are some videos of this. Not one of these running, but with the proper knobs in that, but a nice little system full. Like I said, fully working. We can change the angle of attack on the knife by using this knob here. It'll change your cutting your blade angle up and down. You can see it there. 

It is a balancing act because as you do something with one, you have to uncounter it with doing something on something else. So when you want to change your blade to get to a new sharp section of the blade, you can do that as well. Loosening up the levers, sliding that along so you can be refreshing your blade, length your blade, your section of where you're on the blade, you can change your angle. I can imagine have attack. And you should tighten this down before doing that. So you can change your angle, tighten it down and then you're going to cut a little different angle onto it. Of course, I've done all that moving and so anyway and tighten this down. Nice little unit. It will make a nice museum piece as well as actual a working microtone. 

So if you're interested in the history of the sliding microtone, there's one to take a look at. For more information, there's a lot of information on the web about it and you can contact us at New Life Scientific. Thank you very much.