French Spectacles c.1800

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.

 Plate 1

Single and Double Jointed Spectaclesohs plate 1 single and double jointed spectacles

Plate 2

Nose Spectacles, Temple Spectacles and Spyglasses

ohs plate 2 nose spectacles etc.png

 Plate 3

Scissor Spectacles, Reading Glass and Pocket Magnifiers

OHS plate 3 scissor spectacles etc

Credit: The Winterthur Library: Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera




Copyright Notice:  All works ©2014 Ocular Heritage Society ~ All Rights Reserved.  The photographs and content on this website may not be reproduced in any form without 
the written consent of the Ocular Heritage Society.