Polarization Samples
   Toward the end of the 19th century apparatus manufacturers sold sets of polarization samples to be viewed between crossed polarizers in Pickering-type polarimeters . Typical of these was the boxed set of a dozen 3 inch square samples selling for $20.00 "in neat wooden box" sold by James W. Queen & Co. of Philadelphia in 1887. Curiously enough, all three examples I have examined and show here show the same splitting-out in the upper front corners. 

   These sets included, among others,  specimens of salicen and benzoic acid crystals, a wedge film, designs made in varying thickness of mica, and a quarter wave plate.

   The large trays of individual samples at the bottom of the page are at the United States Military Academy, and have recently been reorganized by Col. Bruce Oldaker. Similar specimens from Queen cost in the $1.50 to $6.00 range, which made the possession of a large set quite expensive.

                                                                                                                 Virginia Military Institute
                           United State Military Academy                                               Hampden-Sydney College

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