Thomas Radcliffe Comber (1837 – 1902)
Thomas R. Comber was born in Brazil (Pernambuco state) but educated in England (died in Blackpool, UK), spending most of his life as a merchant with several years also spent in India. He is the central figure to our current project with V Factor as it is his diatom slide collection we are focussing on initially.
As a young man he took up microscopy and the study of diatoms, abandoning it during his middle years to pursue his wider interest in Botany. His affection for diatoms never entirely vanished and he produced some significant studies later in life; most notably his examination of the HMS Challenger expedition samples.
The unique and unpublished collection comprises: ca. 2850 slides, ca. 100 lantern slides, handwritten notes/note books (e.g. T. Comber MS Index to slides; notes on particular species- from slides); ca. 1000 bottles.
The collections that are ‘labelled’ as (under) T. Comber (he had his own numbering system and it is labelled as such on the collections throughout), are those that he had studied and included personal and institutional sets that he acquired as gift or exchange.
The slides (and/or bottles) are either collections from fossil deposits or recent collections (from freshwater, brackish, marine habitat) and the geographical coverage range from New Zeeland, USA (California, LA, ) Japan, Europe (Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary), Russia, Australia (Queensland), UK, Central and South America (El Salvador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil), Singapore, the Philippines, and includes material from expeditions (e.g. HMS Challenger).