Victorian microscopists were fascinated by the beautiful structure and almost limitess complexity and variety of the ubiquitous diatom. Almost all of the commercial mounters offered a wide selection of preparations, from strews and single specimens to ambitious and decorative arrangements of hundreds of pieces. Some preparers, such as W.A.Firth and J.D.Moller were among the first specialist "diatomists". All of the images below were taken from antique slides, most of which were prepared in the nineteenth century.