Montana Diatoms
Home | Oregon Diatomite | Cleaning

P.O. Box 250, Clancy, Montana 59634-0250 USA
Stephen S. Nagy, M.D.

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Our Mission
Montana Diatoms is devoted to the beauty of the diatom frustule. It is our mission to see, to image, to display, and to conserve diatoms from worldwide locations. To that end we work cooperatively and with integrity with individuals, organizations, and museums to help achieve maximal beauty of diatoms, from whatever source, whether fossil or recent origin.
Montana Diatoms will:
  • make high refractive-index diatom mountants available to diatomists worldwide. We expect to re-introduce Styrax to the scientific marketplace in the Winter of 2002 in limited quantities, and 
  • introduce a newly-synthesized resin with a higher refractive index than Styrax which is stable and permanent over time
  • provide tools that are otherwise unavailable, such as the Klaus Kemp Micromanipulator, hand-made in brass to extremely close tolerances by our consulting machinist
  • exchange samples with other diatomists from obscure or hard-to-reach locations
  • work cooperatively with Museums to assit them in exhibiting their collections to maximum benefit
  • provide very limited numbers of arranged microscope slides of diatoms to assist in the display of collections, increase the individual enjoyment of microscopists, and to provide scientific artwork to purblications and to businesses
  • increase interest in, appreciation of, and knowledge of diatoms and their inherent beauty for every visitor to the website

Winter Update 2002 - 2003

STYRAX MADE IN MONTANA is now available in 20 cc bottles. This is made from pure gum storax from ICN Chemicals according to directions from Robert Firth and Bernard Hartley, as conveyed by Klaus Kemp from Somerset County, UK. The manufacturing process at Montana Diatoms provides a stable, permanent resin of relatively low refractive index when compared to Hyrax and pleurax, which is useful for highly-silicified frustules such as those found in fossil diatomites. Although the raw gum is transformed by several processes in manufacturing, the final product is filtered through celex diatomite and dissolved in toluene as solvent, making it suitable for strew slides or arranged slides. Unlike other manufacturer's production, this resin hardens completely without prolonged heating and is completely free of small particulates, making it suitable for use in darkfield examination. The image that follows illustrates the clarity of this mountant in darkfield illumination.

Arrangement of small Dunkirk, Maryland fossil diatoms in Montana Styrax

OLD AND NEW HIGH-REFRACTIVE INDEX MOUNTANTS are available from colleague and fellow diatomist Bill Dailey, a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. He makes PLEURAX, a mountant with a refractive index of greater than 1.7 which is permanent and stable over time, invented by G. Dallas Hanna.

In addition, Professor Dailey has synthesized a new diatom mountant that in many ways is superior to Hyrax, named ZRAX. More information, is available here:

THE KLAUS KEMP MICROMANIPULATOR  is similarly available from Professor Dailey, constructed from machined brass. Designed by Mr. Kemp, this is an instrument significantly superior to the Meakin design: simple, reliable, with minimal moving parts, and much easier to use. Contact Bill Dailey through the link above if you have an interest in purchasing a micromanipulator and starting on the long road to learn to mount diatoms.

KLAUS KEMP reinvented the lost art of diatom arrangement, and continues to pursue his personal goal of making a 400-form type slide with diatom contributions from his worldwide colleagues expanding his already-large collection of frustules. Mr. Kemp now offers a CD to aid diatomists in identifying the genus and species of their own frustules. More information is available at the Microlife Services website, based in Somerset County, England. To see Mr. Kemp's arranged diatom and butterfly slides, and his other offerings, go here:

SHORT ARTICLES about fossil diatomites of Southcentral and Central Oregon, and about cleaning diatoms, will be added to the website shortly.

This website is currently under construction.

While the site is being built, please enjoy the images of an 100-form Exhibition Diatom arrangement by master diatomist Klaus Kemp of the United Kingdom. All of the images on this page are of the same arrangement, although they appear to be different. The illumination techniques vary, but the images here are all from the same Exhibition mount. These are digital images taken by the owner of Montana Diatoms in our lab.


Darkfield, phase annulus 40, 4x plan objective.


Darkfield using phase annulus 100, 4 Plan objective lens.





Phase contrast using Nikon BM objectives.


Hoffman Modulation Contrast image.


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Contact the site owner, Stephen S. Nagy, M.D.: