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eyeglasses-msg - 1/17/08

 

Period eyewear. Making replicas.

 

NOTE: See also the files: 15C-Eyeglsses-art, disabilities-msg, p-medicine-msg, glasswork-msg, SCA-SL-art, sign-lang-msg.

 

************************************************************************

NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.

 

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

************************************************************************

 

From: dryfoo at athena.mit.EDU

Date: 19 Sep 91 14:29:13 GMT

 

} From: Ann Nielsen <adn at mayo.edu>

} ...Lady NicMaoilan writes about eyeglasses in the SCA, and that she has

} never seen an attempt at period eyeglasses. Ah, but I have!

}

} A gentle in our area, Mistress Margaret of Shaftesbury, owns a pair, which

} her dear lord, Master Einar, made for her.... in a period manner. The

} frames are of wood, round in shape and quite thick, and nestled within are

} round lenses. The glasses rest on the bridge of her nose, and are held on

} by two loops of ribbon that hook totally around her ears....

 

Are wooden frames "more period" -- or more common in period -- than

metal ones?

 

(Here's some material I recently found on eyeglasses in Phil Morrison's

*The Ring of Truth* I haven't got the source here, so I'm relying on

memory for the indicated details.)

 

The earliest picture of someone wearing spectacles that I know about is

a painting on the wall of a monastery in Italy (Treviso, I think) --

near Venice, of course, and the legendary Venetian glassworkers.

 

The portrait clearly shows a scholarly-looking fellow (the Abbot?) with

a pair of small round-lensed spectacles, with what certainly appear to

be wire frames.  They are perched on his nose, and hooked round his ears

in the modern way.  The date of the painting is, I believe, c. 1340 (but

I may have that a century too early).

 

(By the way, our earliest evidence for eyeglasses at all is the record

of sermon given in 1305, which says, essentially, "It is not quite 20

years since the invention of those spectacles which enable those elderly

with weakened eyesight to continue reading and writing.")

 

I can dig up more, if anyone wants.  Personally, I'd like to know if

anyone on the Rialto has studied or worked on period lens grinding.

 

-- Algernon Hartesmond (O.Troub.-Ret.)

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From: sari at csd4.csd.uwm.edu (Sari Ellen Stiles)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: eyeglasses in period

Date: 1 Sep 1993 18:10:27 GMT

Organization: Computing Services Division, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

 

      Eyeglasses are indeed period.  Even I belive pre SCA period in ASIA,

appearing in Europe in the late part of our period.  There is a nice pamplet

of Complete Anachronist that includes How-to for period eyeglasses.

      In an Art History course I took this summer, I saw a painting dated

around 1435 (? I hope I am recalling correctly!) a Maddona and child with an

attendant Cardinal holding a book and some dark rimmed (horn? metal?)

pince-nez type eyeglasses. That would be a primary resource right ???

 

      take care,

            Cieran

 

 

From: jeffs at math.bu.EDU (Jeff Suzuki)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: eyeglasses

Date: 9 Sep 1993 13:40:20 -0400

 

|> I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that eyeglasses

|> WERE period.  They may not have been common, but unless I'm completely

|> mis-remembering they were invented well before the 17th century.

 

Eyeglasses to correct farsightedness are period.  Nicholas of Cusa is

one of the people usually credited with inventing them, although

magnifying lenses were known to the Arabs as far back as the 10th

century.  

 

Tio dell'abaco

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: shafer at rigel.dfrf.nasa.gov (Mary Shafer)

Subject: Re: eyeglasses

Organization: NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards CA

Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1993 18:28:54 GMT

 

On 9 Sep 1993 13:40:20 -0400, jeffs at math.bu.EDU (Jeff Suzuki) said:

|> I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that

|> eyeglasses WERE period.  They may not have been common, but unless

|> I'm completely mis-remembering they were invented well before the

|> 17th century.

 

Jeff> Eyeglasses to correct farsightedness are period. Nicholas of

Jeff> Cusa is one of the people usually credited with inventing them,

Jeff> although magnifying lenses were known to the Arabs as far back

Jeff> as the 10th century.

 

I've just been reading "The Autobiography of Henry VIII" and the

author has Henry tell us that he's been forced to wear "40-year

spectacles" to read documents and he laments that he'll have to wear

50-yr and 60-yr glasses if he lives so long.

 

Obviously, this is a work of fiction, but the author did a _lot_ of

research; an excellent bibliography is included.  I've got her book on

Mary, Queen of Scots, too and it's also excellent--a pity that Mary

was such a _foolish_ woman.

--

Mary Shafer  DoD #362 KotFR NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, CA

shafer at ferhino.dfrf.nasa.gov                 Of course I don't speak for NASA

 

 

From: erm0740 at zeus.tamu.edu (MALDONADO, ERNESTO RICARDO)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re:eyeglasses

Date: 10 Sep 1993 16:04 CDT

Organization: Texas A&M University, Academic Computing Services

 

      I was just reading my assignment for last Monday and came across an

interesting comment that I thought might apply to your conversation.  I haven't

been paying too much attention to this thread, but I think the earliest date I

heard mentioned was early 16th c., so:

 

From Petrarch's "Letter to Posterity" (trans. and ed. by Mark Musa in The_

Italian_Renaissance_Reader),

      "I had ... for many years sharp vision, which, however, unexpectedly

deserted me when I passed my sixtieth birthday, and forced me, reluctantly, to

resort to the use of glasses."

 

      I unfortunately don't know when he wrote the later, but he turned 60 in

1364 and died in 1374.  I don't know Italian so I can't say anything about the

translation (Although it's in the second paragraph if anyone cares to check.),

but if it is right that dates glasses back to the 14th c.

      Just as another thought, he might be referring to a monocule or

lognette (sp?) as well, but at least some kind of corrective lens was available.

 

      In Service,

      Geoffrey Scrymger

 

 

From: jeffs at math.bu.EDU (Jeff Suzuki)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: glasses

Date: 29 Aug 1994 11:59:46 -0400

 

About tolerating eyeglasses...

 

'course, eyeglasses are period.  However, IMSC, they were of the type

to correct far-sightedness, what we might call reading glasses.  IME,

SCAdians tend to be nearsighted, rather than farsighted, so from a

strict standpoint, most of our glasses wouldn't even be period, even

if the frames were.

 

(I had a "pseudo-set" of period glasses...one of my earpieces broke.

Remembering an illustration of what Elizabethan glasses looked like, I

tried to follow it with dismal success...fortunately it was only a

month before I could get new glasses)

 

Sunglasses are period.  Sort of.  Anyway, that's what I've read.  What

you do is take regular glasses, paint linseed oil on them, and

bake'em.  The linseed oil turns black; if you did everything

correctly, you'll still be able to see through the glasses after

you're done.

 

Unfortunately, Medievaloid is "in" in the fashion-world.  This means

that you can get medieval-looking eyeglass frames, but they're

designer frames and cost accordingly (i.e., between 10 and 100 times

what they're actually worth).  I know; I tried to get a pair but it

would have cost me over $100.

 

If there are opticians in the SCA, I'm sure there would be many people

_very_ interested in getting a medieval set of glasses.

 

William the Alchymist

 

 

From: Kelly.Coco at MVS.UDEL.EDU (12/13/94)

To: Mark Harris

RE>Glasses....

 

   Hi Stefan,

 

    Van Eyks "Annunciation" is a painting that shows a Cardinal I think who

   is holding a pair of glasses. Van Eyk is reknown for his realist details

   (early to mid 1400's) so the inclusion of glasses as well as the absence

   of temples is signifigant. Quite a detailed painting too. I do like the

   northern renn artwork so much more than the Italian as it is *much*

   more secular in nature and hence valuable for my purposes! :-) I think

   the date for the piece is 1430, but could easily be off by a decade or

   so.

 

                              Vale,

                               Steiner

 

 

From: david.razler at compudata.com (DAVID RAZLER)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Spectacles (was SCA is NO

Date: Thu, 29 Jun 95 23:43:00 -0400

Organization: Compu-Data BBS -=- Turnersville, NJ -=- 609-232-1245

 

IM>Unfortunately, while Henry VIII is technically "period",

IM>he is not period for me.  The earliest I can shove the

IM>documentation for spectacles to is c1285, and that's

IM>based on a reference in a sermon in 1305 that they've

IM>been  around for 20 years.  At best, it's still 160 years

la

IM>ter than I need for my current persona.

 

IM>*sigh*

 

Umberto Eco, who I have found reliable in his fiction for

everything but windows and functional herbology, maintains

(in the NOVEL <underlined> Name of the Rose) that pince-nez

metal glasses, (as opposed to the ones on Henry VIII's

grotesque helm and featured in Complete Anachronist I) were

becoming available in the mid 1300s.

 

BUT: a problem - the glasses were reading glasses for the

far-sighted. Several people in society maintain that glasses

for the nearsighted were a later development. Then again, no

one is likely to check whether your lenses are double-convex

or plano- or double-concave. (I don't buy that for one

reason. The general method of grinding a convex lense leaves

you with a concave lense - look at any manual on telescope

making for further details on how to grind your own)

 

The killer comes for photophobes like me - I've yet to find

a reference to period sunglasses, and I usually take a

Corning Ultra-Grey 10.

 

                                Aleksandr the Traveller

                                [david.razler at compudata.com]

 

 

From: IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu (I. Marc Carlson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re: Spectacles

Date: 30 Jun 1995 13:41:23 -0500

Organization: UTexas Mail-to-News Gateway

 

<Aleksandr the Traveller <david.razler at compudata.com>>

 

IM>Unfortunately, while Henry VIII is technically "period",

IM>he is not period for me.  The earliest I can shove the

IM>documentation for spectacles to is c1285, and that's

IM>based on a reference in a sermon in 1305 that they've

IM>been  around for 20 years.  At best, it's still 160 years

IM>later than I need for my current persona.

>Umberto Eco, who I have found reliable in his fiction for

>everything but windows and functional herbology, maintains

>(in the NOVEL <underlined> Name of the Rose) that pince-nez

>metal glasses, (as opposed to the ones on Henry VIII's

>grotesque helm and featured in Complete Anachronist I) were

>becoming available in the mid 1300s.

 

Umberto Eco's Pince-nez ("pinched nose") glasses are quite similar

to Henry VIII's helm (although I haven't seen the spectacles in the

CA I).

 

Essentially, we are talking about a pair of round lenses on a

hinged section.  This hinged bit may be a small arc, or a longish

handle.  A 14th C. pair, similar in appearance to those used in the

movie "Name of the Rose", but made from bone were excavated from

the Trig Lane excavations in London.  [there are at least 2

articles on this topic by Michael Rhodes, one in _London

Archaeologist_ 4 (1980), 23-5; and the other in _Antiquaries

Journal_ 62 (1982), 57-73.  Both are discussed in Arthur McGregor's

_Bone, Antler, Ivory and Horn_]

 

In my brand new copy of _Ancient Inventions_ by Peter James and

Nick Thorpe there is a discussion on Spectacles (pp.289-295) [using

as IT's major source, E. Rosen., "Invention of Eyeglasses,"

_Journal of the History of Medicine_ 11 (Jan 1956), pp.13-46;

(April 1956), pp 183-218), which I have not, as yet, seen].

It describes (as well as shows) a fresco by Tommaso di Modena,

painted in 1352 showing a pair of spectacles with the curved

hinge/nose-piece.  There is also a mention of a sermon by a

Dominican Friar Giordano da Rivalto deleivered in 1305, reporting

that 20 years before, a man the good friar had actually met, had

invented the spectacles.  Unfortunately, this is an area wherein a

lot of hoaxes have been perpetrated (and to be honest, since this

is, at best, a fourth-hand source, I will take it as merely an

interesting hypothesis until I can backtrack the documentation).

 

However, as the current version of my persona is convinced that

this is 1115, such an invention in 1285 seems a trifle "high tech".

 

>BUT: a problem - the glasses were reading glasses for the

>far-sighted. Several people in society maintain that glasses

>for the nearsighted were a later development....[deletia]....

 

OTOH, This same nifty new tome has a section on Magnifying lenses

(pp.157-161), in which it repeats the old from Pliny about Nero's

_smaragdus_, which is reputed to be "Concave in shape, so that it

concentrates the vision".  Ie., a lens for us myopics.

 

>The killer comes for photophobes like me - I've yet to find

>a reference to period sunglasses, and I usually take a

>Corning Ultra-Grey 10.

 

I can relate to that.  However, should Nero's smaragdus actually

have been an emerald...

 

Personally, however, I try to stick with a broad brimmed hat

whenever I can, and keeping my eyes closed a lot.

 

"Mihi Satis Apparet Propter     Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn

  Se Ipsum Appetenda Sapientia"    University of Northkeep

-- St. Dunstan                  Northkeepshire, Ansteorra

                        (I. Marc Carlson/IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu)

 

 

From: david.razler at compudata.com (DAVID RAZLER)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re: Spectacles

Date: Fri, 30 Jun 95 22:23:00 -0400

Organization: Compu-Data BBS -=- Turnersville, NJ -=- 609-232-1245

 

IM><Aleksandr the Traveller <david.razler at compudata.com>>

 

IM>IM>Unfortunately, while Henry VIII is technically "period",

IM>IM>he is not period for me.  The earliest I can shove the

IM>IM>documentation for spectacles to is c1285, and that's

IM>IM>based on a reference in a sermon in 1305 that they've

IM>IM>been  around for 20 years.  At best, it's still 160 years

IM>IM>later than I need for my current persona.

IM>>Umberto Eco, who I have found reliable in his fiction for

IM>>everything but windows and functional herbology, maintains

IM>>(in the NOVEL <underlined> Name of the Rose) that pince-nez

IM>>metal glasses, (as opposed to the ones on Henry VIII's

IM>>grotesque helm and featured in Complete Anachronist I) were

IM>>becoming available in the mid 1300s.

 

IM>Umberto Eco's Pince-nez ("pinched nose") glasses are quite similar

IM>to Henry VIII's helm (although I haven't seen the spectacles in the

IM>CA I).

 

IM>Essentially, we are talking about a pair of round lenses on a

IM>hinged section.  This hinged bit may be a small arc, or a longish

IM>handle.

 

Razler/Aleksandr here: No, we aren't. King Harry's glasses and the kinds

outlined in CA 1 are metallic Eco's are "almonds" of glass "mounted in a

metal fork."

 

IM>>BUT: a problem - the glasses were reading glasses for the

IM>>far-sighted. Several people in society maintain that glasses

IM>>for the nearsighted were a later development....[deletia]....

 

IM>OTOH, This same nifty new tome has a section on Magnifying lenses

IM>(pp.157-161), in which it repeats the old from Pliny about Nero's

IM>_smaragdus_, which is reputed to be "Concave in shape, so that it

IM>concentrates the vision".  Ie., a lens for us myopics.

 

Thank You For the Cite!

 

IM>>The killer comes for photophobes like me - I've yet to find

IM>>a reference to period sunglasses, and I usually take a

IM>>Corning Ultra-Grey 10.

 

IM>I can relate to that.  However, should Nero's smaragdus actually

IM>have been an emerald...

 

Anyone with a source of cheap, 3" diameter, optically excellent

emeralds, please contact.....

                                    Aleksandr the Traveller

                                  [david.razler at compudata.com]

 

 

From: jcole at ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (cole joan)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Spectacles

Date: 3 Jul 1995 13:36:18 GMT

Organization: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 

>Umberto Eco's Pince-nez ("pinched nose") glasses are quite similar

>to Henry VIII's helm (although I haven't seen the spectacles in the

>CA I).

>

>Essentially, we are talking about a pair of round lenses on a

>hinged section.  This hinged bit may be a small arc, or a longish

>handle.  A 14th C. pair, similar in appearance to those used in the

>movie "Name of the Rose", but made from bone were excavated from

>the Trig Lane excavations in London.

 

In the latest Jas. Townsend & Son catalog, they are offering reproduction

"15th Century Spectacle Frames" in the style described.  The price is $60

(you'll have to take it to your optometrist and get lenses made as well)

 

Their address is Jas. Townsend & Son, Inc.

133 North First Street

P.O. Box 415

Pierceton, IN 46562

 

They also have a web page at http://www.jastown.com/townsend/

 

I am not affiliated with these folks in any way, but I have ordered things

from them and received good service in the past.

 

Hildegarde, Barony of Wurm Wald, Midrealm

 

 

From: IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu (I. Marc Carlson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re: Spectacles

Date: 3 Jul 1995 21:15:51 -0500

Organization: UTexas Mail-to-News Gateway

 

<david.razler at compudata.com (DAVID RAZLER)>

>><Aleksandr the Traveller <david.razler at compudata.com>>

>>>>Unfortunately, while Henry VIII is technically "period", he is

>>>>not period for me.  The earliest I can shove the documentation

>>>>for spectacles to is c1285...

>>>Umberto Eco...maintains (in the NOVEL...Name of the Rose) that

>>>pince-nez metal glasses, (as opposed to the ones on Henry VIII's

>>>grotesque helm and featured in Complete Anachronist I) were

>>>becoming available in the mid 1300s.

>>Umberto Eco's Pince-nez ("pinched nose") glasses are quite similar

>>to Henry VIII's helm (although I haven't seen the spectacles in the

>>CA I).

>>Essentially, we are talking about a pair of round lenses on a

>>hinged section.  This hinged bit may be a small arc, or a longish

>>handle.

>Razler/Aleksandr here: No, we aren't. King Harry's glasses and the

>kinds outlined in CA 1 are metallic Eco's are "almonds" of glass

>"mounted in a metal fork."

 

I beg to differ.  Brother William's Spectacles are described as

     "...It was a forked pin, so constructed that it could stay on

a man's nose ... as a rider remains astride his horse or as a bird

clings to its perch.  And, one on either side of the fork, there

were two ovals of metal, which held two almonds of glass, thick as

the bottom of a tumbler. ..." (p.74 of the 1983 Harcourt Brace and

Jovanovich edition)

 

The twin ovals of metal, one on either side of a fork sound to me

to be very like the versions used in the movie, and that I have

heretofore described.

 

>>...concentrates the vision".  Ie., a lens for us myopics.

>Thank You For the Cite!

 

My pleasure.  Please let me know if you find that it is in error.

 

>Anyone with a source of cheap, 3" diameter, optically excellent

>Emeralds, please contact.....

 

It just so happens...

 

Actually, not.  The best I can do is suggest a source for false

amber made from *real* amber blended with some sort of plastic.

I've never used it myself, but I'm told that it can be worked as

easily as real amber, and is significantly cheaper.  The company

makes similar faux gemstone plastics from real gems.   If you are

interested, I'll get the address...

 

-----------------------------------------------------

<una at bregeuf.stonemarche.org (Honour Horne-Jaruk)>

>>At best, it's still 160 years later than I need for my current

>>persona.

>Respected friend:

>would India in the 900's be any use to you? One of my costume books

>has a miniature of a hindu scholar wearing some very eyglass-like

>corrective lenses... Then again, they're almost certainly either

>rock crystal or smoky topaz, thus not "Glasses" atall, atall...

 

Oh, that's painfully tempting.  More so since according to my Boring Persona

Story, I've been as far east as the Indus.  Here I've been try to encourage a

smidgen more realistic personas, and less "weird" imports....

 

*Arrrrgggggh*

 

"Mihi Satis Apparet Propter     Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn

  Se Ipsum Appetenda Sapientia"    University of Northkeep

-- St. Dunstan                  Northkeepshire, Ansteorra

                        (I. Marc Carlson/IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu)

 

 

From: lescoxwell at delphi.com (Les Coxwell)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Spectacles (was SCA is NO

Date: 4 Jul 1995 21:20:00 GMT

 

david.razler at compudata.com (DAVID RAZLER) writes: >

 

> IM>Unfortunately, while Henry VIII is technically "period",

> IM>he is not period for me.  The earliest I can shove the

> IM>documentation for spectacles to is c1285, and that's

> IM>based on a reference in a sermon in 1305 that they've

> IM>been  around for 20 years.  At best, it's still 160 years

> la

> IM>ter than I need for my current persona.

>

> The killer comes for photophobes like me - I've yet to find

> a reference to period sunglasses, and I usually take a

> Corning Ultra-Grey 10.

>

>                                 Aleksandr the Traveller

>                                 [david.razler at compudata.com]

>

It seems that the 1285 date for spectacles is likely to be the earliest date.  

  Regulations from the Venetian Glassmakers' Guild which refers to spectacle

lenses dates from about 1300 and would seem to confirm the date.  However, a

number of rock-crytal lenses have been found around the Mediterranean,

including Turkey and Crete, and seem to date from various periods befor the

second century AD.  Although there seems to be no evidence for them having

been fitted into spectacles, there is no evidence that says that they were

not.

 

A reference in a Chinese work, previously thought to date from about 1240 AD,

is now believed to date from sometime after 1410.  It referred to a gift of

spectacles to the Emperor of China from the King of Malacca, on the Malaysian

peninsula, and this is also referred to in some court records which have been

positively dated to 1410.

 

OTOH, Aleksandr, your sunglasses may actually be available earlier, if you can

establish Chinese connection through trade.  There is a refernce to Judges

wearimg dark glasses made of smoky quartz, not as aprotection against the sun

but to disguise their reactions to evidence read out to them in court.

 

As an alternative the Inuit developed carved ivory or wooden snow goggles to

reduce snow blindness about two thousand years ago.  These had two wide,

narrow, horizontal slits which allowed good horizontal vision but reduced

direct and reflected sunlight.  If the slits alone don't rduce the light

enough, you might be able to conceal some lenses from modern sunglasses

beneath them.

 

Les Coxwell

Reading, Berkshire

England.

 

 

From: IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu (I. Marc Carlson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re: Eyeglasses (A virtual compilation...)

Date: 27 Jul 1995 21:58:16 -0500

Organization: UTexas Mail-to-News Gateway

 

The following people contributed to this document (However unwillingly):

<una at bregeuf.stonemarche.org (Honour Horne-Jaruk)>

Aleksandr the Traveller [david.razler at compudata.com

<jcole at ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (cole joan)> Hildegarde, Barony of Wurm Wald, Midrealm

<jeffs at math.bu.EDU (Jeff Suzuki)>>  

<Steiner<Kelly.Coco at MVS.UDEL.EDU >>

erm0740 at zeus.tamu.edu (MALDONADO, ERNESTO RICARDO)

sari at csd4.csd.uwm.edu (Sari Ellen Stiles)

dryfoo at athena.mit.EDU

lescoxwell at delphi.com (Les Coxwell):

CONNECT <connect at aol.com>

IMC at VAX2.UTULSA.EDU

 

Some Sources:

     Phil Morrison's "The Ring of Truth"

     Complete Anachronist I

     Petrarch's "Letter to Posterity" (trans. and ed. by Mark Musa

     in The Italian Renaissance Reader),

 

Advertisement:

Jas. Townsend & Son, Inc, (purveyors of living history materials)

sell 15th Century Spectacle Frames. These are the kind that look

like minature tennis racquets, and  the pressure from the joint

above your nose pinches them to your nose so they stay on.

 

"A reproduction copied from an original pair that dates to the

mid-1400s. This style continued in use in Europe until the end of

the 16th Century. They are rivited in at the center so they can be

adjusted or folded. Frames are grooved to hold round lenses approx.

1-3/16inches in diameter. Made of man-made material to simulate the

original bone construction. Clear lenses are included in the

frames. SP-789 $60"

          Jas. Townsend & Son, Inc.

          133 North First Street

          P.O. Box 415

          Pierceton, IN 46562

     (800) 338-1665

     (219) 594-5852

 

Age of Glasses:

R/A: Umberto Eco...maintains (in the NOVEL...Name of the Rose) that

     pince-nez metal glasses, (as opposed to the ones on Henry

     VIII's grotesque helm and featured in Complete Anachronist I)

     were becoming available in the mid 1300s.

IM:  Umberto Eco's Pince-nez ("pinched nose") glasses are quite

     similar to Henry VIII's helm (although I haven't seen the

     spectacles in the CA I).  Essentially, we are talking about a

     pair of round lenses on a hinged section. This hinged bit may

     be a small arc, or a longish handle.  A 14th C. pair, similar

     in appearance to those used in the movie "Name of the Rose",

     but made from bone were excavated from the Trig Lane

     excavations in London.  [there are at least 2 articles on this

     topic by Michael Rhodes, one in London Archaeologist 4 (1980),

     23-5; and the other in Antiquaries Journal 62 (1982), 57-73.

     Both are discussed in Arthur McGregor's Bone, Antler, Ivory

     and Horn]

R/A: No, we aren't. King Harry's glasses and the kinds outlined in

     CA 1 are metallic Eco's are "almonds" of glass "mounted in a

     metal fork."

IM:  I beg to differ. Brother William's Spectacles are described as

     "...It was a forked pin, so constructed that it could stay on

     a man's nose ... as a rider remains astride his horse or as a

     bird clings to its perch. And, one on either side of the fork,

     there were two ovals of metal, which held two almonds of

     glass, thick as the bottom of a tumbler. ..." (p.74 of the

     1983 Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich edition)

     The twin ovals of metal, one on either side of a fork sound to

     me to be very like the versions used in the movie, and that I

     have heretofore described.

IM   Unfortunately, while Henry VIII is technically "period", he is

     not period for me. The earliest I can shove the documentation

     for spectacles to is c1285, and that's based on a reference in

     a sermon in 1305 that they've been around for 20 years. At

     best, it's still 160 years later than I need for my current

     persona.

     In my brand new copy of Ancient Inventions by Peter James and

     Nick Thorpe there is a discussion on Spectacles (pp.289-295)

     [using as IT's major source, E. Rosen., "Invention of

     Eyeglasses," Journal of the History of Medicine 11 (Jan 1956),

     pp.13-46; (April 1956), pp 183-218), which I have not, as yet,

     seen].

     It describes (as well as shows) a fresco by Tommaso di Modena,

     painted in 1352 showing a pair of spectacles with the curved

     hinge/nose-piece. There is also a mention of a sermon by a

     Dominican Friar Giordano da Rivalto deleivered in 1305,

     reporting that 20 years before, a man the good friar had

     actually met, had invented the spectacles. Unfortunately, this

     is an area wherein a lot of hoaxes have been perpetrated (and

     to be honest, since this is, at best, a fourth-hand source, I

     will take it as merely an interesting hypothesis until I can

     backtrack the documentation).

 

     Respected friend, would India in the 900's be any use to you?

     One of my costume books has a miniature of a hindu scholar

     wearing some very eyglass-like corrective lenses... Then

     again, they're almost certainly either rock crystal or smoky

     topaz, thus not "Glasses" atall, atall...

 

lescoxwell at delphi.com (Les Coxwell):

     It seems that the 1285 date for spectacles is likely to be the

     earliest date. Regulations from the Venetian Glassmakers'

     Guild which refers to spectacle lenses dates from about 1300

     and would seem to confirm the date. However, a number of

     rock-crytal lenses have been found around the Mediterranean,

     including Turkey and Crete, and seem to date from various

     periods befor the second century AD. Although there seems to

     be no evidence for them having been fitted into spectacles,

     there is no evidence that says that they were not.

     A reference in a Chinese work, previously thought to date from

     about    1240 AD, is now believed to date from sometime after

     1410. It referred to a gift of spectacles to the Emperor of

     China from the King of Malacca, on the Malaysian peninsula,

     and this is also referred to in some court records which have

     been positively dated to 1410.

 

Shape of Lenses:

D/A  BUT: a problem - the glasses were reading glasses for the

     far-sighted. Several people in society maintain that glasses

     for the nearsighted were a later development....[deletia]....

IM   OTOH, This same nifty new tome (Ancient Inventions by Peter

     James and Nick Thorpe) as a section on Magnifying lenses

     (pp.157-161), in which it repeats the old from Pliny about

     Nero's "smaragdus", which is reputed to be "Concave in shape,

     so that it concentrates the vision". Ie., a lens for us

     myopics.

 

Sunglasses:

     Baking Linseed Oil on glass:

     Stained Glass:

lescoxwell at delphi.com (Les Coxwell):

     OTOH, Aleksandr, your sunglasses may actually be available

     earlier, if you can establish Chinese connection through

     trade. There is a refernce to Judges wearimg dark glasses made

     of smoky quartz, not as a protection against the sun but to

     disguise their reactions to evidence read out to them in

     court.

     As an alternative the Inuit developed carved ivory or wooden

     snow goggles to reduce snow blindness about two thousand years

     ago. These had two wide, narrow, horizontal slits which

     allowed good horizontal vision but reduced direct and

     reflected sunlight. If the slits alone don't rduce the light

     enough, you might be able to conceal some lenses from modern

     sunglasses beneath them.

  

   Sunglasses are period. Sort of. Anyway, that's what I've read. What

   you do is take regular glasses, paint linseed oil on them, and

   bake'em. The linseed oil turns black; if you did everything correctly,

   you'll still be able to see through the glasses after you're done.

 

IMC:

   I can relate to that. However, should Nero's smaragdus actually

   have been an emerald...

D/A:

   >Anyone with a source of cheap, 3" diameter, optically excellent

   >Emeralds, please contact.....

IMC:  

   The best I can do is suggest a source for false amber

   made from *real* amber blended with some sort of plastic. I've never

   used it myself, but I'm told that it can be worked as easily as real

   amber, and is significantly cheaper. The company makes similar faux

   gemstone plastics from real gems. If you are interested, I'll get the

   address...

  

 

From: david.razler at compudata.com (DAVID RAZLER)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Glasses & Boots

Date: Mon, 18 Sep 95 22:27:00 -0400

Organization: Compu-Data BBS -=- Turnersville, NJ -=- 609-232-1245

 

Cariodoc wrote:

 

DF>nfmartin at scws10.harvard.edu (Nyani-Iisha Martin) wrote:

 

>> At any rate, I was wondering about eyeglasses and boots. Not

>> everyone can wear contacts (I can't); I was wondering whether

>> people were  generally encouraged to wear their glasses, at the

>> risk of spoiling their  period appearrance, or to not wear them, at

>> the risk of everything that  can happen to one if one can't see as

>> well (bumping into things, not  being able to see as much, etc.)

 

DF>Eyeglasses are quite common in the SCA--and almost none of them are

DF>attempts at period versions. For many years I have run an encampment

DF>at Pennsic that tries to maintain standards of authenticity well

DF>above the SCA norm, and we still allow eyeglasses. My rule is that

DF>there should be nothing in the encampment that is both obviously and

DF>unnecessarily out of period--and although most eyeglasses are

DF>obviously out of period, they are also necessary for some

DF>people--meaning that doing without them would be a serious cost.

 

Question: were glasses available in your persona's time/place? I haven't

finished the research yet, but citing Umberto Eco (who seems to usually

know what he's talking about in his fiction) metal-framed pince nez's

were available but rare in Europe by the latter part of the 14th

century. (admittedly poor documentation - the reason I haven't made a

pair yet) And the Islamic world was far more advanced in the field of

optics in period.

 

We know that by Henry VIII's day that glasses were available to at least

English royalty, or the brass (substitutiong for bone) frame shown on

the face of his grotesque armor would not be there.

 

<A replica copy of the 15th Century "triglane" glasses are available at

the cost of $60 from Mike Tartaglio, c/o The Stuffy Purist, (609) 653-

1271, (1 Evergreen Ave, Mays Landing, NJ 08234) made out of a plastic

composition, with non-prescription plastic lenses that can be replaced

with modern prescription lenses. (Admitted Plug)>

 

In Blindness,

                                    Aleksandr the Traveller

                              (Who can't wear contacts either)

 

 

From: Phyllis_Gilmore at rand.org (Phyllis Gilmore)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Glasses ? (other Questions)

Date: Tue, 19 Sep 95 12:03:48 GMT

Organization: RAND

 

PGPADRAIC at aol.COM wrote:

>Regarding Glasses... does anyone know when eye wear became possible... what

>sort of styles (if any) were available or common and starting at what period

>in time.

>

>Also When did Sun Glasses first appear.... is there any documentation on

>them... I've heard rumor regarding sandwiched smoked glass.  But this also

>raises the question in what period did they orginate or can we trace them

>too.

>

>I too wear contacts at events and have a sensitive eyes to the bright sun...

>I would like to document and use period eyewear if at all posible.

 

As an addendum to my previous post--

 

My desk calendar (Manuscript Painting from the Middle Ages to the

Renaissance:  In Colors & Gold, Metropolitan Museum of Art)

reproduces a salient picture for the first week in October--

a self-portrait of Simon Bening, dated 1558.  The glasses

the artist is holding have a black, pince-nez-style frame.

 

That's good enough for my persona <grin>--now all I gotta do

is talk the local optician into cooperating.  

******************************************

SCA:  Lady Philippa de Ecosse, Lyondemere, Caid  

mka:  Phyllis Gilmore, Santa Monica and Torrance, CA

My opinions are my own, unless donated.  All contributions welcome.  

 

 

From: dickeney at access4.digex.net (Dick Eney)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Glasses ? (other Questions)

Date: 20 Sep 1995 15:46:18 -0400

Organization: Express Access Online Communications, Greenbelt, MD USA

 

Phyllis Gilmore <Phyllis_Gilmore at rand.org> wrote:

 

>My desk calendar (Manuscript Painting from the Middle Ages to the

>Renaissance:  In Colors & Gold, Metropolitan Museum of Art)

>reproduces a salient picture for the first week in October--

>a self-portrait of Simon Bening, dated 1558.  The glasses

>the artist is holding have a black, pince-nez-style frame.

>

>That's good enough for my persona <grin>--now all I gotta do

>is talk the local optician into cooperating.  

 

Tamar the Gypsy adds: shortly after _Scientiae Draconis_ in the Middle

Kingdom published articles on period eyewear, Andrew MacRobb got his

optician to make and give him lenses made to fit the wooden frames Andrew

had made.  In fact, tortoise-shell (read: variegated brown plastic) and

metal were used, so wire-rims are okay too.  The earliest glasses (circa

13th century I believe) were the pince-nez-style (actually, had a pivot

screw that held two single-lens-with-handle shapes together), but it

wasn't too long (15th century?) before string loops were added that went

around the ears.  In China, but not in the West, there were strings with

weights on the end that draped over the ears and helped hold the glasses

up.  The earliest glasses in the west supposedly were made of smoky

quartz, and therefore grey sunglasses would be allowable. All the

examples I've seen pictured had round lenses - the classic owl-eyes

look.  Also, they tend to be small, so your medieval specs wouldn't be

likely to impress the boss mundanely; they spread among the older

scholars who wanted them to read with.

 

-- Tamar the Gypsy (sharing account of dickeney at access.digex.net)

 

 

From: connect at aol.com (CONNECT)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Glasses ?

Date: 20 Sep 1995 11:39:49 -0400

 

While browsing through the bargain book section at a local bookstore, I

came upon a book filled with eyewear from all sorts of times in history. I

assume it was published for fashion students, as there was one from the

same company just next to it with hats of all sorts.  

 

In this book, there were photos of glasses from as early as the 14th

Century. These were the actual glasses, not portraits of people wearing

glasses. There were only a handful of photos for "our period," but a lot

of 17th and 18th century  specs.

 

I don't recall the name of the book, but it was something very simple like

Eyeglasses or Eyewear. And, the rims sold by Jas. Townsend & Sons match

the early glasses shown in that book.

 

Yours in Service,

Rosalyn MacGregor of Glen Orchy

Pattie Rayl of Ann Arbor, MI

 

 

From: IVANOR at delphi.com

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Glasses ? (other Questions)

Date: 21 Sep 1995 23:37:46 GMT

 

Quoting RonWood<ron> from a message in rec.org.sca

   >Also having to deal with eyewear, I did some research, and the

   >earliest glasses I saw were in a late 17th century painting.

 

Encyclopedia Britannica has the following:

 

Roger Bacon in 1268 recorded the earliest comment on the optical use of

lenses, but magnifying glasses inserted in frames were used by the Chinese

for reading as early as the 10th century.  Marco Polo noted this custom also

in the court of Kuvlai Khan (1270).  Eyeglasses made their first European

appearance in Italy, their introduction being attributed to Alessandro di

Spina of Florence.  The first portrait to show eyeglasses is that of Hugh of

Provence by Tommaso da Modena, done at Treviso in 1352. Domenico

Hhirlandajo in 1480 painted St. Jerome at a desk from which dangled

wywglasses, and from this detail St. Jerome became the patron saint of the

spectacle makers' guild.  At first only concave lenses were used for the aid

of presbyopia (old-sight) and hyperopie (old-sight in young people).  A

concave lens for myopia is first evident in the portrait of Pope Leo X,

painted by Raphael in 1517.

 

It also states that transparent quartz and beryl were the first materials

used for lenses, but that the level of demand led to the adoption of optical

glass sometime before 1590, when it was used to make the first Microscope.

(Telescopes weren't invented till 1608, so the spyglass is not period!)

 

Of course, it was still another 100+ years before Ben Franklin invented

bifocals, so I guess my next pair should be the kind with no lines....

 

Carolyn Boselli, Host of Custom Forum 35, SCAdians on Delphi

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: bq676 at torfree.net (Kristine E. Maitland)

Subject: Period Eyeglasses

Organization: Toronto Free-Net

Date: Sat, 20 Jan 1996 12:57:36 GMT

 

I recall a thread a while back on this topic and I throught that this

article might be of use.

 

Vincent Ilardi. "Renaissance Florence: the Optical Capital of the World."

      in _Journal of European Economic History_ vol22 #3 (Winter 1993)

 

Ines Carmen Maria de Freitas da Firenze

 

 

From: glyford at us1.channel1.com (Glenn S. Lyford)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Sunglasses, was: Hersheys' commercials

Date: 19 Jul 1996 14:27:32 GMT

Organization: Channel 1 Communications

 

In article <4smutu$ib6 at news3.realtime.net>, moondrgn at bga.com says...

>But. . .

>IIRC from "Compleat Anachronist #1" sunglasses *are* period. Remember

>the folding glasses Sean Connery used in "The Name of the Rose"? Now

>do it with smoked, or stained glass.

 

I also recall seeing a greek version, with bronze lenses drilled with

a myriad of small holes, held in place with straps or thongs...

                                                         --Glenn

 

(But note: increases eye exposure to UV) :^(

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: bq676 at torfree.net (Kristine E. Maitland)

Subject: Period Eyeglasses

Organization: Toronto Free-Net

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 15:36:33 GMT

 

Buon giorno, tutti!

 

Someone was interested in period eyeglasses.  The following should be

greatly useful:

 

Vincent Ilardi. _Renaissance Florence: the Optical Capital of the World_.

        in _Journal of European Economic History_ vol 22 #3 Winter 1993

 

The article covers the 13th - 16th century.  Interesting read, from the

looks of things (I merely skimmed it, alas).

 

browsing at Robart's Library (U of Toronto)

Inez Rosanera

Ealdormere

 

 

From: intracb at aol.com (IntraCB)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Eyeglasses

Date: 1 Jan 1997 07:45:31 GMT

 

You should also get in touch with Master Einar Lutemaker

(akuhfeld at aol.com).  He wrote an article on period eyeware in TI years

ago.  A few events later, he spied across the room a comely lass wearing

nearly-identical goggles!  It was love at first squint, and Einar and

Margaret are still happily married.

 

 

From: moondrgn at bga.com (Chris and Elisabeth Zakes)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Glasses

Date: Sun, 26 Jan 1997 01:41:26 GMT

 

midzor at cco.caltech.edu (~Parador Moon~) wrote:

>    I am also one of those gentles who cannot wear contacts (tear ducts

>don't work), and a single pair of lenses (no frames) costs almost $200.

>And I also can't use "an old pair" of lenses...my astigmatism and sight

>is so bad and changes so radiacally that using an old pair of

>lenses for a day gaurentees me massive headaches and eyes strain for days.

 

>>Sure, everyone has their limitations, but it seems to me that often

>>people don't bother to see what they can find that is just as cheap that

>>looks and feels much much better...  

 

>   I'm not sure about feel better.  :-)  I don't think

>period glasses would work well under a fighting mask.

 

I'm in the middle of reading William Harrison's "The Description of

England", published in 1587. In the chapter on metals he mentions

glasses with tin or silver frames. I presume modern steel would be a

reasonable substitute.

 

He also mentions "spectacles set in leather" for use when working with

saffron. The context suggests these are some sort of goggles. Maybe a

set of the soft plastic "sport glasses" covered with cabretta leather?

 

The first option you could presumably do when you buy your next

set--just opt for more period-looking frames. The second option

assumes you have the discretionary funds to have a set of

just-for-fighting glasses made, which I'll grant is unlikely for the

average SCAer. <G>

 

        -Tivar Moondragon

I can't decide if I should feel smug, or guilty about my 20/20 vision.

 

C and E Zakes

Tivar Moondragon (Patience and Persistence)

and Aethelyan of Moondragon (Decadence is its own reward)

moondrgn at bga.com

 

 

From: dickeney at access5.digex.net (Dick Eney)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: sun glare goggles

Date: 23 Jan 1997 12:01:05 -0500

Organization: Express Access Online Communications, Greenbelt, MD USA

 

Dino V. Germano <tamela at cs.unr.edu> wrote:

>bhaddad at LunaCity.com (barbara haddad) wrote:

>

>>      I'll add however that prescription sunglasses are the only thing

>> that allows me to wander around in any sunlight. My eyes are

>> ridiculously sun-sensitive [cheap swedish genes: the pupils do not

>> constrict properly in bright light] and I am light-blind without my

>> sunglasses (and hat).

>>       I, for one, find it extremely embarassing to walk into poles,

>> cords, uprights and the like, while trying to walk from point 'a' to

>> point 'b' with my eyes squinted shut without either.

>>       (although, I suppose I _could_ wrap a bandage over my eyes and do

>> it 'properly' in-period.)

>

>You could make a pair of "slit" goggles. Take a piece of common ivory from

>a walrus tusk, or even a piece of that rare stuff called wood, cut a 1/16"

>or so thick slab, shape it to cover your eyes, make four or five thin

>horizontal slits across the area in front of eyes and you have the north

>of the artic glare gogles. I was told that this has been used for

>"thousands of years" in a survival class when I was in Alaska thanks to

>the A.F.

 

_Ancient Inventions_ pg. 295: Eskimo snow goggles carved from ivory

between AD 100 and AD 800.  One pair had (small) round holes, the other

had single wide horizontal slits (trapezoidal, wider at the outside).

Quite possibly others had multiple slits.

 

However, as has been posted by others, gray rock crystal (aka smoky

quartz) was used for some early spectacle lenses, and Nero looked at the

gladiators through an emerald lens.  In China, in the early twelfth

century (same source book), smoky quartz glasses were used by judges to

disguise their reactions to evidence being read out in court.

HTH

=Tamar the Gypsy (sharing account dickeney at access.digex.net)

 

 

From: Charissa <ladycharissa at geocities.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Glasses

Date: Wed, 05 Feb 1997 20:07:31 -0800

 

> Besides which - just how common _were_ these eyeglasses in period ? I

> suspect that for the vast majority of persona they'd be inappropriate

> anyway. Forcing hundreds of people with personae ranging across the full

> scope of the SCA to wear period-style eyeglasses isn't going to solve

> the authenticity problem; if I see a Viking wearing period-style glasses

> I'll find it at least as jarring as if they were wearing modern glasses.

> Quite possibly _more_ jarring; at least I'm accustomed to modern glasses

> and can ignore them.

 

This is an important point- so many people wear them today that even if

ou DO notice them, it's eally easy to tune them out.  No one would

suggest a person not take his medications at a public feast because

they're not period... it's the same with glasses.  

 

>A wonderful Lady in my shire has made a pair of period glasses, the

>frames are made of wood, and have weights on strings that hang behind

>her  ears.  The lenses were taken from an old pair of glasses and fitted

>into the frames.   She created these glasses at almost NO COST.

 

This is very admirable, BUT making glasses is much more complicated than

sticking a pair of lens' into anything that will hold them up.  Angle,

focal point and focal length are all important factors- and, most people

are NOT able to calculate these and accurately engineer the glasses to

the specifications.  If your prescription is weak, it may not make a big

difference.. but, with a prescription as strong as mine (or that worn by

the originator of ths thread) it makes a big difference. It would be

just as bad for my eyes to wear my lens' improperly as it would be not

to wear them at all.

 

Charissa

http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Towers/1258

 

 

From: mittle at panix.com (Arval d'Espas Nord)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Seeking spy glass and other things

Date: 30 Jun 1998 10:28:56 -0400

Organization: PANIX Public Access Internet and Unix, NYC

 

> If you missed it, a woman was shown sitting at a table with a very large

> flask in front of her. The flask was full of water (I presume) and she

> held her needlework on the other side in order to use the refracted image

> to work by.

 

We can do better than that: The Britannica On-line says that magnifying

lenses for reading were used in Europe by the 13th century and probably

before.  They would certainly have been luxury items, but they existed.

===========================================================================

Arval d'Espas Nord                                         mittle at panix.com

 

 

Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2000 08:58:38 -0500

From: Andrea Hicks <maridonna at worldnet.att.net>

To: Merry Rose <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>

Subject: Spectacles in painting?

 

Greetings to the gentles of the Merryrose,

 

In my search for information on birds in period, I came across a

painting that I also think  has a gentleman wearing spectacles. I need a

second opinion.

 

Anyone with access to a book with the painting of _The Marriage at Cana_

by Paolo Veronese, 1563, Musee du Louvre, Paris, please take a look. On

the extreme right are two pillars and in between the pillars is a

gentleman's head with a receing heairline, beard and no headcovering. Is

this man earing spectacles? In front of him is a servant with a red cap

with white beads.

 

I am looking at the painting in a book called _Great Paintings of the

Western World_ by Gallup, Gruitrooy and Weisburg, Barnes and Noble

edition, 1998, ISBN 0-76-7-0277-2.

 

Please reply or flame privately.  Thank you.

--

Lady Maridonna

 

 

Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 17:33:14 -0800

From: Suze E Hammond <moreach at netzero.net>

To: stefan at texas.net

Subject: Glasses, again

 

I ran across a couple of refs to myself in the floralegium on

eyeglasses.

 

One is quite out of date (the one where I, under my former name spelling

of "Nicmaolain" say I've never seen period eyeglasses. Since I am the

"lady in _ shire" with the weighted glasses quoted about in the last

letter, [Wed, 05 Feb 1997 - Stefan] this becomes a nonsequiter of sorts.

 

I would like to somewhat rebut the last letter, BTW, as I did, indeed,

take into account things like focal point and length in making mine. In

fact, the Creative Anachronist issue #1 that inspired me makes quite a

point of what is involved in setting up the lenses properly.

 

If a person feels their prescription is too complex for home experiment,

then by all means they should talk to a professional. But for many of

us, all we'll get out of a failed experimant is a slight headache and a

lot of new learning. After all, if your new "old" glasses don't fit, no

one can force you to wear them!  :-) And, as CA #1 says, with some input

on both sides, you can make your own frames and get your optometrist to

make lenses for them, in which case all s\he has to do is clearly mark

how to install them, so you won't get them "wrong side to" or upside

down.

 

In service to learning-by-doing,

Moreach Nicmhaolain

 

 

Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 19:20:39 -0400

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

To: - Atlantia <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>,

   - Authenticity List <authenticity at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Re: [authenticity] Dates for spectacles

 

The spectacles sold by Jason Townsend are modeled on the pair

from about the middle of the 15th C. found in Trig Lane, London

in the 1974-5 excavations, the deposits ended about 1440. I bought

the original magazine this winter in a batch from England.

 

London Archaeologist Magazine: ISSN 00245984

      Published Quarterly by the London Archaeologist Association,

      7 Coalcroft Road, S.W. 15, London. (At least then.)

Winter 1980, Vol. 4, No. 1

**A Pair of Late Medieval Spectacles from the Trig Lane Site

      by Michael Rhodes pp. 23-5 including three illustrations:

        the original pair, a detailed measured view, and a suggested

      wearing position on a face. Discusses the manufacture methods.

 

>From the article glasses date to the end of the 13th century.

century and came originally from Venice. By the 1400's they

were being imported into England. By the 1500's they were being

imported in large numbers. Most of the importing ships were

Dutch. The first spectacle maker recorded in England was Paul

van (de) Bessen of 'S_uthwark' (no O) in 1459-9.

The Worhipful Company of Spectacle Makers of London dates to

1629, and was modelled on the Dutch companies.

 

The Trig Lane spectacles are said to be the earliest securely

dated spectacles in Europe (at least at the time of publication).

 

The only other earlier sets stated found are from the Convent

of Wienhausen in Germany where they found 11 pairs, two of

which match the London example. All were of wood. These I

have no pictures of.

 

The frames are identical and the only bone large enough in

medieval times was the Metacarpal bone of a bull.

Each side is 2.5mm thick and held a lens of about 30mm.

The circular parts were cut using a specially adapted pair

of dividers. They had an iron rivet with a metal washer on

either side. The literal split (not cut) enabling the lens

to be inserted has three teeth protruding on each side and

is secured by fine copper wires running around the teeth.

The lenses fit in incised V grooves in the frames.

...........

I too have the Compleat Anachronist I on Spectacles.

...........

I also have _A Spectacle of Spectacles_, Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung Jena,

which is the 1988-89 exhibition catalog from the National

Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Hardback, Edition Leipzig.

178 pp., 108 illustrated examples from western and eastern

cultures 1400-1900, ISBN 3361002508.

 

Only about a dozen pictures illustrate pre-1600 period glasses.

 

The first is an iron rivetted folding pair from about 1400 AD

which has no spit seams at all for admitting the lenses.

They are a simple wide circle each side with a straight

metal strip running to a slightly larger circle centered where

it rivets both identical sides, provenance unstated. Three

pieces total, two identical sides, one rivet, no lenses.

There appears to be a groove for holding the lens.

I wonder if perhaps they heated the rims to expand and contract

back on the lenses' edges.

 

The next pairs illustrated are made of leather, bone, and

bone, then horn, then brass, all 16th century. The Trig

Lane set is not even mentioned.

 

The actual invention of eyeglasses is attributed to an

unnamed glass worker of Pisa about 1286. Earliest lenses

were convex until about the mid fifteenth century when

concave lenses were invented. Earliest regulations on the

manufacture of lenses is 1300 in Venice.

 

I bought my copy a year or so ago. Probably from either

Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller or Scholars Bookshelf, or

Hacker Art Books, all of which are on the web. I think it

was about twenty dollars. Probably still selling them.

............

Somewhere I also have what I remember to be a Smithsonian

article on spectacles. I had thought it was carefully

placed in either a book or an assembly of costume articles.

Today it just isn't jumping out of my stacks at me.

............

And I know that in my art books are probably dozens

of pictures of late period spectacles. With the large

amount of those I have I don't have time to delve further

today. And one of these days I may get around to shifting

the numerous articles, pictures, and copies into more

usable form. Right now that stack would be about eight

feet high, not counting the thirty drawer chests I use

and the fifty + binders.

 

Hope this helps someone.

 

Magnus Malleus, OL, GDH, Atlantia, Presbyopic Timeshifter,

and very late on some replies.

 

lilinah at earthlink.net wrote:

> Cal at LivingHistory.co.uk wrote:

> >As a Tudor re-enacting spectacle wearer I'd be interested in

> >establishing some real dates for specs in the England.

> >

> >I've got pictures of spectable wearers at 1556, but not sure if the

> >wearer is English.

> >

> >I'd like to build a picture of:

> >a) What year were they introduced

>

> No one knows for sure, the earliest representations in art in Europe

> are from the mid-14th c. Most resources cite Roger Bacon mentioning

> the optical use lenses in 1268, however another website

> http://users.erols.com/ameen/sciencehistory.htm

> claims that optical lenses were first made by an Andalusian Muslim

> named Ibn Firnas during the 9th century. His work was discussed in

> the writings of al-Haytham (d. 1039), whose research Bacon frequently

> referred to.

>

> >b) what did they really look like

>

> Check out Jas. Townsend. They have a replica pair that looks a lot

> like very earliest glasses. They were sort-of pince nez - that is

> they sat on the nose, but had no ear pieces.

> http://www.jastown.com and you can buy the frames there

>

> Eventually glasses were developed with a loop of cord at the outer

> edge of each side of the frame that went around each ear to hold the

> glasses on - i'm not sure if this was in the 16th century or later.

>

> In 1629 the demand for glasses was large enough for a charter to be

> granted to a guild of spectacle makers in England.

>

> >c) did they correct short AND long distance?

>

> My understanding is that early glasses were "reading" glasses.

> According to the webpage below, glasses for the near sighted were

> first developed in the 16th century. But during these centuries,

> glasses were for people of privilege. There was a purely fashion fad

> for glasses in Spain in the early 18th century.

>

> >d) when did they become common (if that's the right word)

>

> Well, although they existed for over a century before your time, i

> don't think they became "common" until the 18th century.

>

> This website has a brief history of glasses with some period art illustrations.

> http://www.eye.utmem.edu/history/glass.html

>

> This page has a briefer history, oriented to SCAdians

> http://www.math.grin.edu/~vick/sca/glasses.html

>

> There's an SCA publication in the Compleat Anachronist series:

> "Issue 1, 7/82, Medieval and Renaissance Eyeglasses - Their History

> and Construction"

>

> Anahita al-shazhiyya

 

 

Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 17:53:32 -0400

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

To: authenticity at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: spectacle frames again

 

> > Reread my previous posting on spectacles from yesterday.

> >

> > I mentioned Iron 1400, bone 1440 or before, bone, brass, wood,

> > leather from the 16th century meaning about 1550.

> >

> > Magnus

>

> Sorry, I was in a rush and should have been more clear.  What I guess

> I really need to know is where I can find examples of period metal

> frames dating from the 15th century.  Then hopefully, if I cannot

> find a reproduction to purchase, I can perhaps find a modern frame

> that is not too dissimiliar.

> Regards,

> Lucia

 

You can buy a bone set from 1440 from http://www.Jastown.com/

It simulates the Trig Lane pair. They are the only ones I

know of being made.

 

Or you can ILL or buy the book or article I cited / or get the

Compleat Anachronist #1 mentioned from the www.sca.org stock clerk,

find a metalsmith and have a pair made up.

 

The earliest pair I have a picture of had frames that looked

about 5/16" wide around the circular glass in iron, and probably

3/16" thick. They were joined at the center by a rivet in two

matching round ends pivoting over the nose. Imagine two really

wide iron pan frames with wide handles and wider round handle

ends, with a groove to hold the circular lenses. There was no

split in this pair to allow for lens insertion and it did not

appear that there was a rabbet/rebate on the back side to allow

for lens insertion and gluing/puttying in place, only a shallow

vee groove.

 

Not a whole lot more I can do from this end. Being disabled

I rarely see a copier and I'm not breaking copyright laws

posting it on the net. Look at religious art for ideas.

Lots of the clerics wear glasses in the pictures.

 

Generally, I've found if I want something bad enough I can do it

slowly myself and end up with a superior product to what I

can often buy.

 

It shouldn't be too hard to get some material at a scrapyard,

they have brass and bronze here as well at them, or some bones

from a pet store as I do, and use a metal blade in a coping

saw / jeweller's saw frame, to saw a pair of frames out.

 

I'd take a file or appropriately hard metal piece and grind

the edge of it to use as a scraper to cut the inside Vee in

the lense frames with a tooth appropriately ground/shaped

and a shoulder on the file edge for it to ride on the outside

face of the metal as you scrape the groove.

__________________

   old file end   \ with appropriate tooth scraper ground.

          _  _____|

_________| \/ |

shoulder |    |<=== inside of frame being scraped.

with smooth edges

 

A flat/round sided file should clean up the rest of the frame.

Then rivet it. Of course you would need a pair of dividers /

compass to do the basic layout. So only a handful of tools at most.

 

The theory was the bone frame circles were cut with a toothed

cutter on some dividers or similar rotating tools with center

pivots and cutting edges. This could be a double ended flat

piece of metal with centers and cutters at different distances

for the inside/outside of the lens frame. Something harder

than the material you want to cut, which is the universal rule

for cutting/abrading anything.

 

You'd be surprised at what you can do if you try hard enough.

 

Besides, difficult materials give you lots of time to work

with them and minimize mistakes/make adjustments. Cut to

the outside of your line, file/sand carefully to the line.

 

I do engraving and carving in bone and many other materials

with hand tools. Before becoming disabled permanently I was

a modelmaker, did machining, furniture, cabinets, woodwork

and plastic work of all descriptions, and now muck about with

jewellery, enamelling and bonework when my muscle knots allow.

I have advanced FMS. I could do industrial models to half a

thousandth's of an inch by hand. This is not an exageration.

 

Like most things one does, it's all how you approach the material,

the least successful do the least mental preparation to the craft.

Consider carefully, and plan ahead as you do it.

I could cut a whole set of different cabinets out at once with

a little forethought.

 

I imagine though that you might have to use a good

optical worker to shape your outside vee on some old glass

lenses. I may do the same thing myself at some point.

My problem is I like earlier periods, and can't wear contacts

due to a viral infection/injury that left both eyes too dry.

 

Magnus, OL, GDH

 

 

To: authenticity at yahoogroups.com

Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 22:02:12 -0400

From: leigh tartaglio <leigh at dandy.net>

Subject: Re: Digest Number 391

 

> Does anyone happen to know when metal frames came into use?  And were

> they of the pince nez style?  What was in use around 1550? More

> importantly, where can I get some?  I just had LASIK surgery last

> summer and it's important that I wear sunglasses when outside but I'd

> like some that are appropriate to my garb.  Thanks for any info!

> Regards,

> Lucia

 

Hi, Lucia. I just came back from a research trip. I was looking in oldcopiesof Post-Medieval Archaeology, and I found the finds listing from theFreeGrammar School at the Whitefriars, Coventry, dated 1545-1557/8. There isaset of frames for spectacles in the finds. It is of a copper alloy(probablybrass), and consists of a u shaped channel bent into two circles, with adecorative bridge and two couplers attached at the gap in the u-channeltoclose the ring with a rivet. The lenses are not there, sadly, but thedrawingshows an approximately 11/4 in lense size. The lenses are, of course,round.Do you have any jewelry making friends who might know a good jewelryfindssupplier (There are a few in Phila., I use Hagstoz)? They could find theu-channel and tubing, and probably file up the bridge. You could alsolook onthe web, there are a few optometrists that cater to the reenactmentcommunity, and will make round lenses. It is one of my giant list ofthingsto do for myself, but since I can wear contacts, I haven't worked toohard :)

 

Mike T.

 

 

Date: Sat, 28 Sep 2002 20:29:10 -0400

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

Subject: Date on Near-sighted Spectacles

 

I happened to be doing notes on a new book today, and remembering

that Spectacles come up not infrequently on the Authenticity

and SCA-Arts lists thought I'd toss this out to those who make

notes of such things.

 

Bartlett, Robert (edited by): Medieval Panorama; (Robert Bartlett is

Wardlaw Professor of Medieval History, University of St. Andrews,

Scotland; Published in the U.S.A by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los

Angeles

90049-1687, http://www.getty.edu/2001, Hardback ISBN 0892366427,

Paperback 0892366435. Published in the U.K. by Thames and Hudson, Ltd.,

181A High Holborn, London WC1V 7QX, no website given, Library of

Congress

#2001088578.000, 336 pages, Color and B&W illustrations throughout.

The book is primarily close-up pictures of a large variety of sculpture,

metalwork, illuminations, paintings, etc. All provenanced very well.

Page 195, Close-up of  "Jan Van Eyck’s portrait of Canon Van der

Paele (1436) is the earliest illustration in art of spectacles with

concave lenses for the short sighted. Convex, long-sighted spectacles

go back to the previous century." Nationalgalerie, Berlin

 

Master Magnus, OL, Atlantia, GDH

 

It generally helps if you want to ask me a question to put an

* in front of the subject line. I read by list, not by date

generally.

 

 

Date: Thu, 03 Oct 2002 21:05:00 -0400

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

To: - Atlantia <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>,

   - Regia Anglorum - North America <list-regia-na at lig.net>

Subject: * A website for a maker of period spectacles

 

No, I'm not him. One of my postings to the Authenticity at yahoogroups.com

brought him out of the woodwork as it were. See below.

 

> Bartlett, Robert (edited by): Medieval Panorama; (Robert Bartlett is

> Wardlaw Professor of Medieval History, University of St. Andrews,

> Scotland; Published in the U.S.A by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

> 90049-1687, http://www.getty.edu/2001, Hardback ISBN 0892366427,

> Paperback 0892366435. Published in the U.K. by Thames and Hudson, Ltd.,

> 181A High Holborn, London WC1V 7QX, no website given, Library of

> Congress

> #2001088578.000, 336 pages, Color and B&W illustrations throughout.

> The book is primarily close-up pictures of a large variety of sculpture,

> metalwork, illuminations, paintings, etc. All provenanced very well.

> Page 195, Close-up of  "Jan Van Eyck’s portrait of Canon Van der

> Paele (1436) is the earliest illustration in art of spectacles with

> concave lenses for the short sighted. Convex, long-sighted spectacles

> go back to the previous century." Nationalgalerie, Berlin

 

However, someone making such a range of period spectacles is bound

to be of note. Previously all I've heard of is the Trig Lane spectacle

reproduction frames (circa 1440) being sold by http://www.jastown.com/ .

As it's a new direction for him and for non-optometrical reenactors

in general, it's simply worth making a note of.

 

Just think, you can finally look authentic in that nifty late period

Elizabethan overmess on a hundred and five degree F. Pennsic day -

melted or not. ;)

 

I'm an earlier perioder myself. Unfortunately glasses date to around

1275 in Venice. Vikings only had burning or jewelry fine-detail lenses.

For that article you'd have to have been an earlier subscriber to

Viking Heritage Magazine from Sweden (Gotland actually). Same general

folks the Viking Beads CD comes from. http://frojel.hgo.se/

 

Master Magnus, Atlantia, GDH

Please do NOT forward to newsgroups / especially the Rialto.

Thank You. Closed email lists or friends are fine.

I simply don't need the spam or arguments.

 

 

From: "Glenda Robinson" <glendar at compassnet.com.au>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] period spectacles

Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 10:14:08 +1100

 

> Given that my last pair of bifocals with the high indexed lenses for

> weight ran in excess of 700 dollars, I am not sure that owning a second

> pair for Society functions is at all feasible. Given that the entire

> family needs new glasses every year, we routinely spend upwards of $1600

> on eyes annually as it is.

>

> Johnnae llyn Lewis  Johnna Holloway

 

What I've done, and will continue to do, it use my last pair of lenses,

which are usually nearly OK for normal use - a bit scratched, and only a

little, or not at all, off my current prescription. I then get the optical

people to reshape them for my reenactment lenses - last time it cost me

under AUS$20 (about the cost of a main meal at an average restaurant here).

The frames are leather, hand-made by my husband, held on by cord, so it was

a fairly cheap exercise. Next time I get new lenses (which has to be before

the end of this year), I'll do the same, and upgrade to a pair of pewter

frames held by cord, as we've started doing pewterwork at home.

 

A couple of friends of mine have chosen their frames carefully - brushed

silver metal frames with round lenses, for their everyday glasses, so they

can wear them at reenactment events without looking odd, and not need two

pairs.

 

Glenda.

 

 

From: Mac02001 at aol.com

Date: Sun Apr 13, 2003  1:33:43 PM US/Central

To: stefan at florilegium.org

Subject: eyeglasses

 

http://www.didyouknow.cd/spectacles.htm and http://www.eye.utmem.edu/history/glass.html both say that in 1289, "a member of the Popozo family wrote: "'I am so debilitated by age that without the glasses known as spectacles, I would no longer be able to read or write.'" and that "'In 1306, a monk of Pisa mentioned in a sermon: "It is not yet 20 years since the art of making spectacles, one of the most useful arts on earth, was discovered.'"

 

these suggest that glasses were first invented (and only for reading) during the late 13c.

 

 

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

Date: Tue Jun 10, 2003  4:07:40 PM US/Central

To: - Authenticity List <authenticity at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Trig Lane Spectacles again - different larger article.

 

Rhodes, Michael: A Pair of Late Medieval Spectacles from

the Trig Lane Site; still in magazine - in London Archaeologist,

Winter 1980, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp.23-5 with several illustrations. Describes bone used and technique to cut and wire and rivet

the frames together. Gives a short history of spectacles since

their invention in Italy since the thirteenth century, the pair

in discussion is mid 15th century.

 

The one above has been cited before by me.

I just got the article I'm citing below last week:

 

Rhodes, Michael: ÒA Pair of Fifteenth-Century Spectacle

Frames from the City of LondonÓ in the Antiquaries Journal

Vol 62, 1982; London, pp. 57-73 and Plate XII [two photos]

and two double drawings in text - the first showing how the

spectacle frames were when joined and found, and how worn

on the nose; the second showing how the spectacle frame lay

in the foreleg metacarpal bone of a bull (same as a spoon

would) from the top and sideviews of the bone. The lens

was circa 30 mm. Dated to 1440 or the years immediately

thereafter.  Use of dividers in manufacturing spectacles

discussed in a variety of materials - bone, leather, horn.

Dicussion of manufacture, citations of history of spectacles

finds from various places, pictures,sculpture, and literature. Measurements for comparison from the metacarpals found at

Bayards Castle, London. Followed by four page bibliography

and notes on spectacles.

 

Master Magnus Malleus, OL, SCA; GDH; Regia.org

 

 

Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2005 16:51:01 -0500

From: "Martin G. Diehl" <mdiehl at nac.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Out of the food topic

      altogetherrantAuthenticitypolice

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Michael Gunter wrote:

> And I think there needs to be a calming down on all sides.

> Remember courtesy in all things.

>

> It's okay to get upset at the Authenticity Police when

> they declaim one thing but allow others.

 

[snip]

 

> But at the same time I [snip] wear glasses,

 

Correcting lens eye wear came into use a few decades

after Roger Bacon (1214-1292) did work on optics --

especially ray tracing based on a dissected cow eye.

 

In addition,

 

      A sermon in 1306 given at Santa Maria Novella

      in Florence by the Dominican Fra Giordano of

      Pisa sang the praises of the recent invention

      of eyeglasses.  Fra Giordano said:

 

      Not all of the arts have been found, we shall

      never see an of finding them.  Every day one

      could discover a new art. ... it is not twenty

      years since there was discovered the art of

      making spectacles which help one to see well,

      an art which is one of the best and most

      necessary in the world.  And that is such a

      short time ago that a new art which never

      before existed was invented ... I myself saw

      the man who discovered and practiced it and I

      talked with him [4].

 

Quoted from Gimpel, Jean; "Medieval Machine"

 

[4] Quoted in Lynn White, Jr.; "Cultural Climates and

Technological Advance in the Middle Ages"

 

[snip]

 

Vincenzo

 

 

Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005 17:02:44 -0500

From: "Martin G. Diehl" <mdiehl at nac.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] OoFood topic altogether rant Authenticity

      police

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Bronwynmgn at aol.com wrote:

> mdiehl at nac.net writes:

> I said:

>> I have to wear mundane eyeglasses to function at an

>> event.  I've tried a number of contact options and my

>> eyes don't tolerate them.

>

> Vincenzo replied:

> <<Eyeglasses _are_ period.  Period! >>

>

> And in an earlier part of the post had said:

>

> <<Using eye glasses to improve vision is documented to

> have occurred in the late 1200's ... >>

>

> That's all well and good.  However, my persona was long

> dead by the late 1200's, considering she was born in

> 1135 ... so eyeglasses are not period for  my persona.

 

Right.  I stand corrected.  Thanks.

 

I am in awe of your strong intent to faithfully create your

persona.

 

> But I still have to wear them because I can't wear contacts.

> Brangwayna

 

Lets examine this a little closer ...

 

Robert Grosseteste (1175-1253) was Roger Bacon's mentor;

first chancellor of Oxford; knew the earth was round;

declared that the sphericity of the earth, as of all

stars and planets was proved by natural reason and

astronomical experience; he believed it was impossible

to understand the physical world without mathematics; he

believed that light was the first corporal form ... that

the characteristic property of light was its ability to

propagate itself instantaneously in straight lines in

all directions without loss of substance and that is this

way light had generated the universe ... on these grounds,

Grosseteste believed that the study of optics was the key

to understanding the physical world.

 

The study of optics led Grosseteste to suggest the use of

lenses for the purpose of magnification:

 

For this branch of Perspective thoroughly known shows us

how to make things very far off seem very close at hand ...

and how to make distant objects appear as large as we

choose, so that it is possible for us to read the smallest

letters at an incredible distance or to count sand, or

grain, or grass, or any other minute objects.  [14]

 

[14] quoted in L. Thorndike, "A History of Magic and Science"

 

>> Correcting lens eye wear came into use a few decades

>> after Roger Bacon (1214-1292) did work on optics --

>> especially ray tracing based on a dissected cow eye.

 

Jean Gimpel; "Medieval Machine"

 

My reference doesn't say when Grosseteste made his comments

about seeing small letters, counting sand, etc. -- it does

indicate that Grosseteste's reasoning on optics preceded

Roger Bacon's work -- but not when.

 

Even though the lives of your persona and Grosseteste do

overlap, his work may not be early enough for your use.

... But we should check for that date -- I wonder where?

 

I am still in awe of what you are doing to create your

persona.

 

Vincenzo

 

 

From: Sandy Straubhaar <orchzis at hotmail.com>

Date: August 22, 2007 12:06:42 AM CDT

To: bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Period eyeglasses again

 

> Try JAS Townsend & Sons.  They have some 15th century frames.


>

> http://jas-townsend.com/product_info.php?cPath=7&;products_id=735
>

> Elisabetta

 

These are cute.  They look like the ones don Francsico de Quevedo is wearing in all the portraits of him.

http://traduccion.rediris.es/5/img/quevedo.jpg

 

Master Einar's were a solid piece of wood, no hinges, with leather ear straps.  Knowing him, though, there must have been a historical prototype he was working from.

 

brynhildr



 

<the end>



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