automatic coverslipper/dirty slides inquiry

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From:Ken Urban <>
Date:Tue, 03 Aug 1999 10:02:02 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain; charset=us-ascii

Donna Simmons;

If you do not know or are not aware, Surgipath is and has been a major
manufacturer of coverglass, supplying a world-wide market.

Ken Urban
Surgipath Medical Industries
5205 Route 12
Richmond IL  60071
800/225-8867 x120

>>>Message from
After trying numerous supposedly-precleaned brands of coverglass, I have
been using Richard-Allan coverglass for many years with satisfactory 

However, recently [24x50 rec'd in January, 24x60 rec'd in March
of coverglass have been quite dusty-dirty in a peculiar way: there is a 
fine, almost powdery dust that doesn't show very clearly to the naked 
eye or on Brightfield microscopic illumination, but looks like a "starry 
night" on darkfield illumination!  This is a terrible problem for us, 
since 80% of our data analysis is done with darkfield illumination.

Unlike dust I've encountered in the past, this cannot be removed with an 
airjet [or even cleaning with lens paper] while coverslipping.  A
vigorous post cleaning of the dried slides decreases, but doesn't 
eliminate the problem on the surface, but the side of the coverglass 
sealed under the mountant still shows bright specks on darkfield, even 
after thorough drying. I suspect that the problem could be from glass or 
silica dust produced in the 'sand blast technique' used to make some
kinds of frosted end slides.  However, since I have yet to talk with 
anyone who actually knows the details of the manufacturing, that's just 
my best guess based on past experience.

Richard-Allan admits that they have been having some problems with
coverglass quality recently, even with their 'Signature' highest
quality coverglass used for coverslipping machines.   In fact, the
replacement glass we received this week was the worst of all - some
boxes show much dustiness to the naked eye.  They told me that the 
original Richard-Allan was bought out by Sybron [Cybron?] some years
and that they have not been manufacturing their own coverglass for 2-3 
years.  Apparently, Erie Scientific who now makes Richard-Allan
coverglass is the almost exclusive coverglass supplier to all brands 
sold in America.  One of our Brazilian postdocs suggests ordering the 
German coverglass [Kinittel Glaser brand] she used in her old lab, but 
her advisor says even that brand is only adequate, not great.
So, before going on an all-out worldwide search for the perfect
clean coverglass, I thought I'd tap the shared knowledge of the VIR
newsgroup...Any words of wisdom, advice, sources of a better coverglass, 
etc. would be gratefully received!   I hope the problem can be solved 
from the manufacturer end without a great deal of time and effort on 
our part.  But, if Richard-Allan or other American coverglass doesn't 
improve soon, we'll be dead in the water on our most important research 
technique.  I know you can remove a lot of artefact in Photoshop for 
publication... but this too much.

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