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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Darwin   [before 26 June 1873]1

St. George’s Hospital, | Hyde Park Corner. | S. W.

Dear Father

I’ve been to Klein2 to ask abt the microscope— He says that Hartnack always has them ready but that unless one has a friend in Paris who can go & fetch it, it is sometimes difficult to make him send one quick; but Klein is sure that he would send you one at once—3 I find I made a mistake about the stage, Hartnack doesn’t make them but Klein thinks you could have one fitted in England.4 I shd think you’d better get G5 (if he’s at home) to write to Hartnack in French. The name of the microscope is “Petite Modèle Nouvelle”6—& he would have to say you wanted a hinge in the stand and a horse-shoe foot   Klein says “charnier” is the word for the hinge he thinks7 & G might draw a diagram of the foot


& if he cant express it by “botte de cheval”8   Mine cost £15 pounds & (I think) 2 francs—9 I could get you 2 francs in French stamps to send them & you can send 3 fivers   I sent £15 pounds and when he sent the microscope he said there was 2 or 3 francs more to pay   I’d write myself only my French writing isnt strong— I got mine in a fortnight but I should think you wd certainly get it quicker than that— You must say what powers you want & what eyepieces    the numbers of my powers are on the lenses themselves, not on the compartments of the little box   I’m glad you like the micro so much   you can have mine till yrs comes as there are 3 Hartnacks in the School here I can always use

Yrs affec | F Darwin

Dr Hartnack | Place Dauphine | Paris

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Magnifying Power’ blue crayon


The date is established by CD’s purchase of a Hartnack microscope on 26 June 1873 (see n. 9, below).
Edward Emanuel Klein.
Edmund Hartnack was a German microscope maker with a business in Paris. On CD’s microscopes, see Burnett 1992 and Jardine 2009.
The stage is the platform on which specimens are mounted for examination.
George Howard Darwin.
Petite modèle nouvelle: new small model (French).
Charnière: hinge (charnier: charnel house or ossuary).
Botte de cheval: horse’s boot. (Horseshoe is fer à cheval.)
CD paid £16 8s. for a Hartnack microscope, recording the purchase in his Classed account books (Down House MS) on 26 June 1873.


Burnett, William A. S. 1992. Darwin’s microscopes. Microscopy: the Journal of the Quekett Microscopical Club 36: 604–27.

Jardine, Boris. 2009. Between the Beagle and the barnacle: Darwin’s microscopy, 1837–1854. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 40: 382–95.


Has discussed with E. E. Klein about the purchase of a Hartnack microscope from Paris.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 274.1: 8

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9092F,” accessed on 25 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21