Archive: Civil War Spectacles

From the Hicks Brunson Eyewear Vault:
CivilWar4I decided to take my time machine to 1863, to the Civil War and to bring back the oldest frame we have in our archive.
The trip through time has allowed me to return with a piece of history, but the process which allows me to travel into the past still ages any objects I take with me in real time. This may seem like a convenient excuse, however I assure you that the peculiarities of the device are somewhat outside of my understanding and my knowledge of quantum mechanics has ...gaps. I was careful to disguise myself in clothes of the period and I largely stayed west of the Mississippi River in my short trip; the war itself wasn't anything I wished to be mixed up in. Curiously I wandered through several towns until I chanced upon a traveling eyewear salesman. I originally mistook him for just another man in spectacles; He was the first person I'd seen wearing eyewear. After a short but very interesting conversation about a medicine show he'd seen in St. Louis, I asked him if I could trade my pocket-watch for a pair of eyeglasses and he agreed. The watch wasn't from the 1860s but a reproduction created to match the time period. The salesman looked it over and accepted my offer. Nearly immediately after procuring the eyeglasses a small riot broke out across the street and we both bid farewell to head in different directions. I returned to my time machine and placed the eyeglasses into a storage container that I hoped would protect my cargo from the aging process. Returning home I found it hadn't protected them and what's more they were slightly damaged. Nevertheless it was an exciting trip and quite a find... This week I would like to present those very glasses; octagonal shaped lenses, with temples that are an example of the loop slide system that was commonly used in the 19th century, along with folding temples, to make spectacles fit into a smaller case for easy carrying ability. The metal is most likely brass and has a “30″ stamped on one temple, which could either be a maker’s mark or a serial number. Spectacles like these were frequently worn around the time of the Civil War and variations with tinted lenses were worn by soldiers who served as sharpshooters.

1 comment

Great pictures! The detail is incredible.

Daniel Brunson February 25, 2016

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