Frederick Eckstein Jr., 1860 - 1892

by Brian Stevenson
last updated September, 2023

Son of an industrialist in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, Frederick Eckstein, Jr. developed expertise in histological techniques and microscopy as a teenager. In 1878, at the age of 17-18, he advertised to exchange microscope slides of sectioned and stained animal tissues. Also in that year, he was elected to be Curator of the Microscopy Department of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History.

Figure 1. Circa 1878 microscope slide by Frederick Eckstein, Jr., of a stained and sectioned tongue from a rabbit. He offered to exchange this preparation in 1878 (see Figure 3). This slide was found in the collection of a late 1800s microscope enthusiast from California, implying that Eckstein was successful in his pursuit of exchanges.


Figure 2. Section of a rabbit’s tongue, probably stained with carmine, prepared by Frederick Eckstein, Jr. (see Figure 1). Photographed with a 3.5x objective lens and C-mounted digital SLR camera on a Leitz Ortholux II microscope.


Figure 3. 1878 exchange offer from Frederick Eckstein, Jr., from “The American Journal of Microscopy and Popular Science”. The first initial, “J.”, is an obvious typographical error, as there was nobody with such a name at 136 Broadway, Cincinnati.


Frederick Eckstein, Junior, was born on June 21, 1860, in Cincinnati. He was the second child, and first son, of Frederick and Harriet Eckstein.

In 1865, father Frederick Sr. acquired the Townsend Hills lead processing business. A major product of his Eckstein, Hills & Co. business was white lead for paint (Figures 4 and 5). The 1870 national census gave Eckstein’s worth as the considerable sum of $125,000. That census listed the Eckstein family as employing 3 domestic servants. The 1880 census recorded 5 servants, including a “coachman” and “waiter”.

Young Frederick Jr. evidently caught the microscopy “bug” during his mid-teenage years. He joined the Cincinnati Society of Natural History, and showed sufficient experience and skills to be named the Society’s Curator of Microscopy when only 18 years old. By that date, Frederick had acquired skills in sectioning and staining animal tissues, to the extent that he donated “thirty three histological slides” to the Society in 1878, and offered similar mounts for exchange in a national scientific magazine (Figure 3). Eckstein kept his Society membership until at least the mid-1880s.

Eckstein, Hills and Company incorporated as Eckstein White Lead Company in 1880. Frederick, Jr. was assigned a managerial position in the business. He was awarded at least two patents, one for a “lead cooler” in 1886 and another for a “improvements in drive-chains” in 1891.

On June 17, 1886, Frederick, Jr. married Agnes Davis. They had one child, a son named Frederick, born in 1889.

Frederick Eckstein, Jr. died on June 16, 1892, from an “accidental fall”. He was just short of his 32nd birthday.

Figure 4. An 1872 advertisement for Frederick Eckstein, Senior’s business. From John Masury’s “The American Grainers' Hand-Book”.


Figure 5. Eckstein, Hills & Co. became Eckstein White Lead Company in 1880, with Frederick Eckstein Jr. in a managerial role. From “The Methodist Year-Book”.



Thank you to Jeffrey Silverman for identifying the specimen in the Eckstein microscope slide.



The American Journal of Microscopy and Popular Science (1878) Exchange offers from F. Eckstein, Jr., multiple issues

Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents to the Secretary of Commerce (1886) page 553

Cincinnati Directory for 1880-1881 (1880) “Eckstein Fred. (E., Hills & Co.) h. 136 Broadway, Eckstein, Fred. jr. h. 136 Broadway” Williams & Company, page 313

The Journal of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History (1878) Election results, page 53

The Journal of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History (1878) Proceedings of the Society, pages 159-160

The Journal of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History (1884) Members, page 51

Knerr, Douglas (1992) Eagle-Picher Industries: Strategies for Survival in the Industrial Marketplace, 1840-1980, Ohio State University Press, page 31

Masury, John W. (1872) The American Grainers' Hand-Book, J. W. Masury & Son, New York, advertisement from Eckstein, Hills, Co.

The Methodist Year-Book (1888) advertisement from the Eckstein White Lead Company

US census and other records, accessed through