? misnomer (was Re: Questions)

From:"J. A. Kiernan"

Surely there's a wrong name here!

"Charles W. Scouten, Ph.D. (by way of Histonet)" wrote:
> Depends on the sliding microtome.  The Vibratome(tm) 8000 Sliding
> Microtome can cut sections 250mm x 170 mm if configured for maximum
> width.

The Vibratome (tm) in my lab is a vibrating microtome, used for
cutting slices of immersed soft objects - stuck to the chuck with
cyanoacrylate (crazy glue). It bears no resemblance to either of 
the two types of sliding microtome, and could not cut a section
of an object much more than about 1 cm square.

Sliding microtomes are massive pieces of ironmongery for
cutting specimens of any size, but not in the underwater manner
of a vibrating microtome. A sliding microtome has either a
moving block or a moving knife, and with either type the knife
can be 30 cm long. The specimen is traditionally a celloidin-
(nitrocellulose-) embedded or a frozen object, but paraffin and 
resin-embedded specimens can also be cut. At the University of
Cambridge in the 1960s a trainee assistant (technician) was
not allowed to use a rotary microtome until he/she had become
competent with a sliding block (base sledge) instrument.

John A. Kiernan
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
The University of Western Ontario
London,   Canada   N6A 5C1

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