American Spectacle Makers and Marks

Early American Spectacle Makers and Marks

The following information is based on the research of Ocular Heritage Society member and past President, Alan McBrayer.

Although there were a few spectacle frames made by eighteenth century American silversmiths, craftsmen in the United States did not start manufacturing spectacle frames until the early nineteenth century. During the Napoleonic Wars,  England and France each issued blockade orders against each others ports. American ships and sailors were seized as a result. Enacted largely because of the seizure of American ships at sea, the Embargo Act of 1807 prohibited foreign commerce by our merchant fleet. This act was replaced by another in 1809 that continued to limit trade with Britain and France. The War of 1812 with England further disrupted American foreign trade, and gave impetus to American craftsmen to manufacture gold and silver spectacle frames in quantity. During the first half of the nineteenth century numerous American makers and retailers placed their marks on silver and gold spectacle frames made in this country.

ohs  marking of Thomas Pons

ohs marking of John McAllister

OHS marking of Elisha Dwelle

ohs website John Anderson


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