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Specs in History

F1 1970’s Racing Sunglasses

Rush film sparks interest in 70’s racing shades… I saw a piece in the printed press – though it was from shortlist.com which [a] has a lot of spectacles related items – to which I will return, thank you* and [b] doesn’t seem to have the article I saw in the press version (where did I get it? It must have been an insert into something else?) Anyway the piece was about seventies racing shades and four pairs were listed. All “names” (Carrera/Safilo, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferrari and Ray-ban) and all quite expensive in my mind for something your dad […]

Oldest and Only Spectacles Frame Maker in the UK…?

Spectacles Like The Used to Make Them! The BBC just ran a report on their news magazine about a firm – Wisemans –  at the Algha Works factory in Fish Island, in east London which still uses the same machines that they imported in 1932. They claim they are the only glasses frame manufacturer in the UK but I know a few who’d want to dispute that! That’s not their only claim to fame as they made spectacles for many of our famous four eyes – Harry Potter and John Lennon to name two. The machinery came to east London […]

Telegraph on Spectacles Image; Superman Again; Founding Fathers etc

Talking Of Men of Steel & Spectacles… Whilst reading about Superman and his glasses before (I just got round to publishing that Superman Famous Four Eyes post, but wrote it months ago), I came across an even older article at the Telegraph about Spectacles’ image and the statement they make. We always like a discussion about the image of glasses/spectacles but to be honest I’m not sure that this article adds a lot but I did like the way he described them as props at one point. I also appreciaited his candour that identity was key in the choice of […]

Stevie Wonder In The Ages Of Sunglasses

Should Spectacles Blog Be Able To Identify The Shades Of Stevie? Heck No. I just wanted to show these pictures after the write up the other day about Stevie Wonder and his sunglasses or shades. So I went looking through the ages and what do we get? [a] Definitely a reflection of the times with shades through the second half of the Twentieth Century and [b] a sign of the times in fashion and style – including haircuts, bearded-ness and moustache retro. Let that be a lesson to all of us. What goes around, comes around. Nearly all the looks are […]

Walt Whitman’s Glasses…

Erudition At Spectacles Blog?! Surely Not There’s an article that came to my attention (it had the word “spectacles” in it) in The Yale Alumni magazine on-line including such prose as follows… “The eyeglasses, by the way, are real, but it doesn’t seem impossible for Whitman to have decided that Walt Whitman, capital W capital W, would wear glasses, just as surely as he’d wear workingman’s clothes, a beard, and a big slouchy hat.” I’m an English graduate but I guess that I’m out of practice because I didn’t have the time to read the whole thing – or is […]

More Spectacle Semantics

Spectacles Blog Gets Pedantic… and Ponderous… Why is it “Spectacles” (always plural) and then when you put them away, it’s in a spectacle case (singular)? I guess the first part is that there are two of them – the lenses – as scissors and trousers and thus the prefix “a pair” of which goes with all of these.  Fine so far… but why a singular case to put them (not “it”) away??? The root of the word is Latin/French meaning to watch/to see which is why the must-see event is also a “spectacle”.  Similarly we have spectator for a member […]

Lorgnettes Spectacles – Old & New

A Whole Site for Lorgnette Spectacles… I don’t want to go on about old spectacles all the time as I’ve just done a post on different styles of old specs but in doing that I found a site for Lorgnettes.  Yes a wholesite just for these old style spectacles – though they do carry a fair amount of advertising for other types of spectacles (& lenses) too. The site tells us something of the history of these spectacles (often called opera glasses, though I thought they were the binocular style and the picture seen here only confuses me further).  Most lorgnettes are […]

Some More History Of Glasses & Sunglasses…

Spectacles History: Any More For Any More? I’ve had a few more driplets of info from old reading around on the history of spectacles and sunglasses sitting here unpublished for absolutely age and todayI’m getting it out there.  For more info on where history and spectacles collide see Spectacles In History in our reference library. Meanwhile… Sunglasses, in the form of flat panes of smoky quartz, were first recorded being used in China in the 12th century (and could have possibly been earlier)  to protect the eyes from glare bright lights. These of course were not “corrective” lenses; they were just […]

Pince Nez Spectacles

And A Whole Website For These Nose Pinching Spectacles Imagine, a whole website on the subject of Pince Nez spectacles… and why not.  And for those of you not familiar with the name, it translates (almost) literally as “pinch nose”. If you want to visit the site (Pince Nez Renaissance) in all it’s sepia charm, you can read all about it… “… the work of two full-time pince-nez wearers, provides the advice necessary for wearing this style of eyewear”. These guys want you to know as much as possible about pince nez.  (What’s the plural?) There’s about as much information […]

Famous Four Eyes: Barry Goldwater’s Glasses…

And The The Spectacles Habit… According to Wikipedia, Barry Goldwater, famous senator who ran for president in 1964, continued to wear his spectacles (his thick horn rimmed glasses) even after he had contact lenses because people didn’t recognise him and his persona was diluted without his spectacles.  So he reverted to wearing them. When you see the picture of him you understand why they were so much part of his look.  Take them off and you’d have trouble knowing him.  Was the fact that he went back to them just because he was well known &/or a politician?  There are other […]