Hi, thanks for all the suggestions. To follow up this tool came from my uncle who was in the RAAF for many years. It was found by itself in a tobacco tin. I have had one plausible suggestion is that it is a gauge for adjusting the rear sights on a SLME 303 rifle, but this is yet to be confirmed
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The shiny wear pattern suggests it was used more than a microscope gadget..
A Gun sight Left or Right makes a lot more sense.
The long tab sticking up by the knob in the bottom picture is meant to rest against a straight edge. The four fingers in the plate is meant to hold something parallel to that edge. When used, I believe it's orientated flat like in the top picture (judging by the bevel on the straight edge that sticks out as well as being able to read the measurements on the side in the dark area). The straight edge looks to be centred for whatever is between the 4 fingers and then that edge can be varied and read via the L and R markings on the top. The markings on the side facing us in the top picture (in the dark area) looks to be able to hold whatever is in the 4 fingers up to 2 inches away. I'm guessing it's standard measurements and not metric because this tool would be very small and overly accurate if measuring millimetres in thousandths. Needless to say, I have no frigging idea what it is, but maybe reading all this will help someone out. I don't think it's for microscope slides because it only moves in one direction. The measuring scale does look to be of the vernier type. I don't think it's meant for clamping, more so moving and measuring. But of course I could be wrong and clearly don't have a better item to suggest. As someone else has already said, where did you get it? what other items was it with when you found it? who did you get it from and what were their interests?
Small vise? Maybe.
Vernier Caliper !
It measured a linear dimension to the same accuracy of an old style (no dial) vernier caliper..
Seandogue may have correctly tagged it as an aid to a microscope bacteria sizing device..
the general category would be "translation stage". It appear to me to be an antique sldie carriage for an at-the-time fancy microscope.
It looks like something you might use with a lathe or a milling machine.
Where did you get it?