Lately I've been interested in the kinds of spectacles that might have been worn in 1600's Colonial America. With auction prices around $3,000.00 to $4,000.00 for early Nuremberg wire or leather nose-bow spectacles, it's pretty certain they won't find their way into my humble collection. Oh darn !! But then, would I deny myself the fun of replicating a pair ?....... not likely.
|A Sweet Pair of Nuremberg Wire Nose Specs|
From a Recent Online Auction
$3,000.00 + !!
Every successful project begins with research and luckily I have a few good books on the subject. "A Spectacle of Spectacles", Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung Jena 1988, has some nice representative replica pairs. Pierre Marly's "Spectacles & Spyglasses" 1988, documents many 17th century nose besicles in whalebone, horn and brass wire. "Eyeglass Retrospective", Nancy Schiffer 2000, has a whole page devoted to 17th century leather frames. Most of them appear to be rather crudely made but I have seen more carefully crafted examples, like the one below.
|A Nice Original Leather Pair With Green Lenses|
Image Source Unknown
An amazing opportunity for studying leather spectacles, is in the recovered cargo from what is known as the Gnalic shipwreck. Lost in a storm in 1583, near the rocky islet of Gnalic,south of Croatia, archaeologist began recovering its cargo in 1967. Included in that recovery, were 20 boxes of Nuremberg type leather spectacles in an amazing state of preservation. Each box contained 12 pairs, which greatly increased the number of know surviving examples in the entire world.
|Treasure from the Sea|
The Institute of Nautical Archaeology
Today there are some pretty awesome online resources for studying spectacle history. One recent discovery that I've been revisiting is "The Online Museum and Encyclopedia of Vision Aids".
|German Masterpiece Spectacles|
The Inspiration for My Case
The British College of Optometrists
|My Case Closed|
Photo by Author 2013
Note the Stapled Hinge Pins and Hook
The case I decided on was a simple wooden version with some typical features that I had seen in several original examples. I found that wire loop-pin hinges and a simple wire hook closure suited my needs. For the body, pine seemed like a good choice for carving because it's a common wood that's easy to work.
I couldn't resist the look of the marbled paper for a lining. This shows my replica leather specs inside their case.
|And Outside Their Case|
|Thanks for looking !|