Spectacle and Vision Aids in France circa 1800
The following information is based on the research of Ocular Heritage Society member and past President, Alan McBrayer.
The plates below come from a remarkable series of watercolor drawings in a French trade catalog of the early nineteenth century. These two large volumes contain over 1,500 color illustrations of personal, household and hardware items sold in France during that period. Both volumes contain an engraved label of Lebeuf, a stationer in Paris. The address printed on these labels was occupied by this stationer from 1799 to 1813. Also, an illustration of a thermometer in this catalog has the date “1798” on the face of the instrument. Thus, the spectacles and vision aids shown in the catalog can be reasonably assumed to fall within this range of dates. The availability of nose spectacles would seem to indicate an earlier rather than later date – thus, these drawings are believed to represent spectacles and vision aids available in France about 1800.
Single and Double Jointed Spectacles
Nose Spectacles, Temple Spectacles and Spyglasses
Scissor Spectacles, Reading Glass and Pocket Magnifiers
Credit: The Winterthur Library: Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera
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