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Microtome (Ernst Leitz)


The microtome sits on a rectangular metal base, and the design features hand-operated shuttles or carriages (3) that can be adjusted to accommodate different angles and thickness of cuts. The micrometer disc can be adjusted between 20 and 3 microns to get a thicker or thinner slice of the specimen, depending on what is desired.

Accession Number: 2016.zoo.7

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: Metal


Front metal plaque that says “Ernst Leitz Wetzlar.” There is also a sticker on the base of the microtome that reads “U. of Toronto Parasitology Dept. A16”

Dimensions (cm):

Height = 24.5, Width = 11.5, Length = 30.5


A microtome is an instrument used to create very thin slices of specimens as part of the process for creating microscope slides. This one appears to be a type of sledge microtome, where the sample is fixed in place and is moved forth and back across the knife to cut the sample embedded in paraffin. This type of microtome is often used to prepare larger samples.


The microtome appears to be in decent condition, but has started to rust on certain areas including the surfaces on the top and some of the knobs and screws. There is also a layer of dirt and dust on the microtome.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: Ernst Leitz Wetzlar

Date of Manufacture: ca. early 1900s?


From the University of Toronto Zoology department, possibly from the Parasitology department before that.

Additional Information and References:

There is no date or patent information on the microtome. The closest model found was an Ernst Leitz Wetzlar small sledge microtome from 1900. Although there is no date on this microtome, it could be a later version of the one found online. Ernst Leitz was a manufacturer of optical devices, including microtomes, and this microtome would have been manufactured in Wetzlar, an industrial city in Germany.

Ernst Leitz was one of the major manufacturers of microtomes at the time, along with C. Reichert, and R. Jung. Their companies were amalgamated into Leica Microsystems.

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Historical Notes: