The On-Line Museum and Encyclopedia of Vision Aids.
It is a shame that certain treasures cannot be held again, evaluated, and better appreciated (in person) by individuals from around the world who have great interest in antique vision aids. By listing them here, and in many instances presenting their appearance, one or more of these special items may resurface once again. It would be thrilling if even one of the vision aids mentioned below is recovered. That would certainly be wonderful and would make the effort of constructing this first page worth the effort. So if anyone knows anything regarding the whereabouts of any of these objects please notify firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Benjamin Franklin bifocals||Benjamin Franklin split-lens bifocals from the famous 1785 Peale painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia||This is the only depiction of
him wearing the bifocals he devised
|Dudley Adams patent spectacles||Thorowgood Smith, wearing Adam’s patent spectacles in the painting at city hall in Baltimore, MD||These are quite unusual|
|Nathaniel Rochester eyeglasses||Colonel Nathaniel Rochester wearing X bridge 4 lens spectacles from the famous 1824 John James Audubon painting at the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester||Several curators in that area of the country have been searching for these|
|Pope Leon X myopic lens||Pope Leon X holds a myopic lens in the famous 1518 Raphael painting and also in the Art Resource drawing from the Louvre, Paris.||
||A myopic lens was seen in Florence in a display case at the Museum of the History of Science but it has been confirmed that this is not the myopic lens of Pope Leo X|
|Sojourner Truth eyeglasses||Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), whose name was actually Isabella Baumfree, was an African-American abolitionist, Civil War nurse, and suffragette, who worked on freeing slaves. She was famous also for attending the Woman’s convention 1851. “Ain’t I a woman” was one of her most famous statements. Wearing octagonal spectacles.||Unable to locate
|Aaron Burr spectacles||Aaron Burr (1756-1836) wearing spectacles up on his forehead in the painting by James Van Dyck at the New York Historical Society||unable to track this down. Note also the photo from Spinning Wheel magazine (it is a different style)|
|Francisco de Quevedo eyeglasses||Francisco de Quevedo painting, copy of a lost work by Velazquez, in Madrid, described in a 19th century book about the painter’s life, from the Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Texas||This information was supplied
by the Senior Curator
|Heymann case collection||
The Madame Heymann collection of carved eyeglasses cases was displayed in a black and white photo in the article regarding spectacles highlighted in the 1915 Encyclopedia of Ophthalmology. (Note individual pictures from her very rare 1911 book). This fabulous group of cases was considered to be the finest collection in the world at that time.
Most likely they were all destroyed sometime between World War I and World War II
|Camillo Cavour spectacles||Camillo Cavour (1810-1861) was a highly regarded and world-renowned Italian statesman. He was cofounder of the newspaper “Il Risorgimento” which gave its name to the movement for Italian unity. 1852 Prime Minister of Piemont-Sardinia; 1860/61 instrumental in the unification of Italy.||Apparently these significant eyeglasses do exist at the Luxottica Museum, Agordo in the mountains of Northern Italy. Hoping for a photo of the eyeglasses eventually.|
|Peter Ranier spectacles||Admiral Peter Ranier, after whom Mount Ranier in Washington State is named, wore this pair for a sitting for this painting by Arthur William Devis, c. 1805.||Does anyone have knowledge regarding the whereabouts of these eyeglasses? They are gold-plated or perhaps even solid gold by appearance?|
|Ernst Abbe eyeglasses||Dr. Ernst Abbe (1840-1905) wearing wire spectacles in this photograph and also on this medal||
||Where are these spectacles now? They are not in the collection at the Optisches Museum, Jena|
|Anthony Trollope||Anthony Trollope (1815-1882), British novelist (wrote nearly 50 books), romanticist and moralist||unable to locate so far|
|Peter Cooper eyeglasses||Peter Cooper (1791-1883) wearing gold 4 lens octagonal frame spectacles. He was an American inventor, industrialist and philanthropist.||An unusual style of eyeglasses|
|Andrew Jackson eyeglasses||President Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) apparently wore 4 lens spectacles for many years? Notice these two paintings.||
||This pair has been missing for years and are presumed lost|
|Daniel Wadsworth eyeglasses||Daniel Wadsworth (1771-1848) founder of the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Connecticut n 1844.||Authorities there are unaware of the existence of his spectacles.|
|Louis Pasteur eyeglasses||Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), French microbiologist and chemist||
||Unable to locate so far|
|John Philip Souza eyeglasses||John Philip Souza (1854-1932), American composer, conductor, and patriot, wearing pince nez||
||unable to locate|
|John Jacob Bausch eyeglasses||John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb, were co-founders of the Bausch and Lomb Optical Company||unknown|
|Lyman Beecher eyeglasses||Lyman Beecher (1775-1863), preacher, and father of Harriet Beecher Stowe||unknown|
Adoph Hitler (1889-1945), Chancellor of Germany from 1933 and Fuhrer and Reichkanzler from 1934, Leader of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) There are only a few different known photos of him wearing spectacles..
Hitler did not want to be photographed wearing eyeglasses because he felt that a dictator wearing spectacles would lose authority. They were probably destroyed in his bunker in 1945 and are most likely gone forever.
|Chardin spectacles||Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (1699-1779), one of the greatest French Rococo Era painters of the 18th century, whose genre and still life subjects documented the life of the Paris bourgeoisie. The three paintings (all self portraits) at the Louvre show two of the styles of spectacles used during those times. Rococo Art succeeded Baroque Art in Europe. It was most popular in France, and is generally associated with the reign of King Louis XV (1715-1774).||Unable to locate either pair of these spectacles.|
|Large magnifier with an amber lens||
Staatliche Museen Kassel, Germany had a very rare magnifier with a dark red amber lens described by Prof. R.Greeffin 1921. It had a power +8 diopters with a diameter of 50mm, date circa 1740-50
The lens apparently did not survive the bombings of October 23, 1943.
|Rembrandt Peale’s gold glasses in his self-portraits||Rembrandt Peale’s gold glasses – circa 1840-45. Spectacles appear on his face in several different paintings. Oval frame (at the Mead Museum) octagonal frame (at the Maryland Historical Society) and rectangular frame (in a private collection) have now been recognized.||(in process)||Whereabouts of these three pair??|
|Amber Magnifier glasses||Museum Gothisches Haus", Worlitz Germany .||In World War II the Collection was lost. Nobody seems to know anything about the "Amber Collection".|
|A BIT OF GOOD NEWS TO REPORT||Late 16th century leather framed spectacles found by the Messrs. Boston Divers Limited (now defunct) and displayed at the Boston Guildhall Museum in 1985. These had been photographed in the 1980’s and were pursued actively by yours truly over a year ago. Their whereabouts had been unknown for the interval years. Also described in this small collection, which was on loan, was an 18th century red wooden spectacles case (no photo).||The Leather spectacles surfaced earlier this year in a Christies Sale in South Kensington. Sold to a happy collector, they now have found a good home. The red wooden spectacles case described above is still missing.|