Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You Are Drafted!


For the Pince-Nez Renaissance. Uncle Sam and I want your contribution to the rebirth of pince-nez eyewear (if you haven't done so already). I gave Uncle Sam a zyl fingerpiece. Photoshop is a wonderful tool.

For the readers who have contributed comments and pictures already, my friend and I are very grateful. If you are a frequent reader of this column, it would be a great help to hear your comments, concerns and/or stories. If you do not want to be published, let me know and I won't provide any identifying information about you. But if you wear pince-nez, it's hard to keep it a secret!

I like to think of this blog as an online resource center and not necessarily my own space. Diversity of opinion is allowed. Chime in with your thoughts. If you still feel too shy, we still appreciate your readership.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My First Week Wearing Pince-Nez


pince nez fingerpieceI've been wearing my pince-nez for a week now. I'll be candid: I was really worried if it would be practical to wear this style on a full-time basis. I'm pleased to tell you that pince-nez is quite comfortable and I often forget I'm wearing glasses. A few times I even went to grab the temples. No temples! Then again I've been wearing specs for over thirty years.

I will tell you that this first week hasn't been perfect. I had some slight skin irritation on one side of my nose. This however is temporary as there isn't any problem with fit and both nose guards are in great shape, applying equal pressure. Even with standard specs, there can be some skin irritation during the break-in period. My friend advised me to use the gel found in a Vitamin E capsule and apply a little bit to the affected area and nose pads. Yesterday my nose felt much better. Just one day of real irritation this week.

So who noticed? My workplace isn't a good indicator as I've been talking nonstop about pince-nez for the past several months. I have received many favorable comments which were quite sincere at work. On the street I have noticed some people who appear to be looking at my pince-nez. For some reason, it is usually middle-aged businessmen. Last week Jon Dean and I went to Trader Joe's, a small, specialty grocery store, and I remarked to him that no one noticed. He told me there was one Indian woman who kept frowning at me and stared at my glasses. People will notice, but few will be bold enough to vocally comment their thoughts.

Overall, it has been a very good week and a sign of a lot of enjoyment for me with my new pince-nez. In my opinion, it is a gorgeous look and will make you think twice about wearing ordinary specs again.

pince nez fingerpiece

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Astig Makes a Winning Look


pince nez astigI never thought much of the Astig as a desirable pince-nez. That was until Michael from Australia sent in his picture to participate in the Renassaince's "nose pad give-away." On Michael, the Astig looks great! One thing I should have known from before is that eyewear style varies with the wearer. What works for one person may not work for another. Clearly, the Astig works for him, as does the safety ribbon.

The Astig has an adjustable, spring-loaded bridge which is much easier to fit than a fingerpiece. Also, the rimmed style can be fitted easily with lenses. For some reason, this style was much more popular in England than in the US during the heyday of pince-nez.

Michael is a very busy man. Father, published author of short stories, a pipe smoker and collector, and an all-around good guy. Thanks for sending in your photo.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Nose Pads: Another Source!


I've been thrilled wearing my pince-nez all day with total comfort. In fact, I often forget that I am wearing anything at all. On my face, I mean. I attribute this comfort mainly to the silicone nose pads which also provide enhanced security of fit. My friend who is a pince-nez expert told me that some pince-nez fit great without nose pads and have fine comfort and security. I do not doubt him. But I do believe in the vast majority of cases that silicone nose pads are essential.

I found out some time ago that the boot-style nose pads required for pince-nez are a very, very difficult find. In a previous post, the only two sources I found were J.I. Morris and Stormin' Normans. Morris makes excellent nose pads, but their website doesn't contain any information on them. You have to call. Stormin' Normans is strictly wholesale.

There is another source for nose pads. QTE. They have a tremendous selection of optical tools, parts and other supplies. I haven't bought anything from them but they do look good. QTE has an assortment pack of three pairs in sizes of small, large and x-large for $4.95. A great way to find your size and sample the feel of nose pads at at a reasonable cost. Once you find your size, you can buy packs of three pair at the same price. Nice thing to know is that all of their nose pads are made in the US. I believe the best things are still made in the US, except for cars of course.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My New Pince-Nez


pince nez fingerpiece
I finally got my pince-nez with prescription lenses! Yes, a twenty year dream that finally came true. I picked up my fingerpiece yesterday at the optical store and wore them all day today. Prior to today, I haven't worn a pince-nez for more than an hour or two. I was worried that I wouldn't be comfortable wearing a pince-nez all day. Well, I was really shocked at the comfort of them. I forgot that I had them on at times. I'm not kidding. They were that comfortable. Security was not an issue as they were firmly lodged at all times. The nose guards are strong.

If it wasn't for the silicone nose pads however, I doubt that I would be able to wear them at all. Nose pads are essential.

I was a little worried last night as I noticed that the nose guards were uneven and the lenses had a slight upward tilt. Oh no, I thought, they'll have to redo the lenses. No problem today. I went back and Karen made some slight adjustments. Voila. A perfectly fitted pince-nez. I forgot that even with standard glasses, follow-up adjustments are usually necessary. I needlessly worried.

So why just the picture of the eyeglasses and not me wearing them? Vanity. I've been under a lot of stress lately and I don't feel that my face is photogenic. I'll spare you the details. Rest assured that they look great on me. In a week or so I'll post many pics of me wearing them.

Any reactions to my pince-nez? One of my neighbors remarked on how they didn't have temples. She was pleasantly surprised by them and curious as to how they stayed in place. My other neighbor, JoAnne, was there also and knows about my pince-nez interest. She was braced for a long discussion! Today in San Francisco I did notice quite a few people looking. Either the glasses or I'm just a handsome guy. Probably the glasses.

I plan on wearing my fingerpiece full time. Other glasses are merely back-ups now.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Doing What It Takes


As I've mentioned, LeDandy isn't the handiest guy in the world. The first time I tried changing lenses on a pince-nez, the screw ended up somewhere in the living room carpeting. Nevertheless, I did manage to acquire the skill of changing lenses with ease. I found that virtually all of the lenses at my disposal have the same offset distance for securing to the mount. All I needed was a cheap set of screwdriver's purchased at Lowe's.


Why should you change lenses in the first place? When dealing with rimless lenses, you have tremendous freedom to choose among various sizes and shapes. It is almost too much freedom. One thing I learned about eyeglasses is that you can't always predict what will look good on yourself. By swapping lenses, you can be absolutely certain. In my case, I took the lenses without mounting from my Fits-U trial set and put them on the mounting discussed on my Apr. 6th post. I'm glad that I had two months to decide on a mounting.

I was fortunate to receive an assortment of spare parts from my friend which have proven quite valuable. Springs, screws, bridges, parts of nose guards and the other components of a pince-nez are essential for tinkering with mountings. If you aren't a tinkerer, you will be after working on pince-nez. It is inevitable for the hobbyist.

pince nez spare parts
The only other essential item I need is a set of good pliers. QTE offers pliers specially made for pince-nez at a reasonable price. Enter "pince-nez" in their website's search engine.

Use your judgment on what you can and cannot do. Practice on the cheap stuff and leave the complicated repairs on expensive pince-nez to your optician unless you are very confident.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Every Pince-Nez Has a Story



Some have a very short, dull story as in manufactured but never used. Others have far more interesting stories. Pictured above is one such interesting pince-nez. It is even more interesting in that these eyeglasses didn't begin as pince-nez but as ordinary spectacles. They belonged to a friend of mine who converted this to a pince-nez as there was enough tension in the bridge. Sharp looking bridge and lens.

What happened to the left lens? It shattered upon striking a city sidewalk after a strong gust of wind blew the pince-nez off his face! Yes, pince-nez offers a secure fit but there are unique dangers to this style of eyewear. Strong winds are hazardous to pince-nez.

Follow-up: My friend was indignant and said that he never had a problem with his always perfectly attached pince-nez in even strong winds. Only a slight wobble, at most, occurred in these conditions which never affected the stability of the pince-nez. There was never any fear of detachment. The fatal episode discussed above happened because the eyeglass was in reality a mock pince-nez.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Wait Begins


It has been an extremely busy week for me. On Monday I had my eye exam and ordered lenses for the pince-nez shown in my prior post. Interestingly, my eyes have actually improved. Who said things get worse with age? Phooey.

The optician said it will take one to two weeks to get my pince-nez back. I sure hope it is closer to one week.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Winner is ...........


Tomorrow is my long awaited eye exam followed by my order for prescription lenses in a pince-nez mounting. My optician has a good business and I've had to wait about two months for this exam. Turns out I'm glad that I've had this wait. It has been a very difficult decision, as there are a few very good mountings for me. Apart from the pivot fingerpiece which I purchased on eBay, all of the choices have been from my friend's batch. To refresh your memory, here is the original pince-nez group.

pince nez group fingerpiecesFor a long time I favored the matte steel fingerpiece at the top left. The comfort and security of this pince-nez is excellent. My other favorite was the pince-nez mounting without lenses in the upper right corner. This also fit well. The white gold hoop spring, second from top left, fit very well after making a minor adjustment to the nose guards. However, my first prescription pince-nez will be a fingerpiece. And the winner is.....

The one on the bottom left!

Yes, it sort of surprised me also. The round lenses looked very dorky on me, for want of a better word. But lenses, like your name, can be changed. LeDandy isn't very handy, but he quickly acquired the skill of changing lenses on pince-nez mountings. So I took some spare lenses from the Fits-U trial set and placed them in the mounting. A great look!

pince nez fingerpieceWhat prompted me to decide on this mounting? The arc of the bridge. It is more pronounced than the others and it is a very flattering look. Pending my optician's approval, this will be my first pince-nez. A twenty year dream about to come true!

pince nez fingerpiece

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Z-Fold Oxford


z fold Oxford pince nez
I received a very nice gift two weeks ago of some Oxford pince-nez. A few weeks ago I wrote a post on the varieties of Oxford pince-nez. The one that really interested me from the start was the z-fold Oxford. It has a very nifty mechanism for folding out which you cannot really appreciate until you do it. The lenses fold out in different directions, hence the name. This particular z-fold still has the hang tag! A great piece of history from American Optical.

The case is small as it holds the Oxford quite snugly in the closed position. This case is in remarkably good condition and the release mechanism functions very well. The material appears to be bakelite.

z fold Oxford pince nez case

z fold Oxford pince nez case
So how exactly does the z-fold work? The photo below shows how the folding mechanism operates. The lenses pop into place as the lenses are rotated in opposite directions along the bridge. To fold, just gently apply pressure to the lens frame and fold backward. A very smooth procedure.

z fold Oxford pince nez operation
This is not a pince-nez which I would wear. The nose guards are too close together and it is far too tight on me. Also, the Oxford by nature is a very heavy variety of pince-nez and it is not comfortable for extended periods of wear. Nevertheless, this is a very interesting item and I am thrilled to have one in great condition with the original hang tag.

Oh yes, here is a photo of the back showing the nose guards.

z fold Oxford pince nez back

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Trial Fingerpiece Set: More Photos


pince nez fingerpiece trial set

I was excited about putting up an article and some photos of the trial fingerpiece set which I bought a few weeks ago. I have a few more photos of interest regarding this set. As you can see, there are seven of the twelve pince-nez from the original set. This is quite common as many pince-nez were lost or used individually. Rest assured that I will keep the remaining seven in the set. This photo emphasizes the different sizes and shapes of the saddle bridge mounting. An optician would be able to successfully fit a wide array of individuals with this set of fingerpieces.

I also noticed some small tags which were loose in the set. These are the original hang tags for the pince-nez. I'm thrilled that these survived. On the reverse of the tag, it has the model number of the pince-nez.

pince nez hang tag American Optical
pince nez hang tag American Optical

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