Sunday, June 28, 2009

Antique Pince-Nez Mountings vs. Contemporary Mountings


We have received several emails from readers asking about current manufacturers of pince-nez mountings. The answer is that only cheap mountings are made today for readers and sunglasses. I would not recommend having prescription lenses made for any of them. While the Debby Burk hoop spring readers are quite functional, the mounting is crudely made and not worthy of prescription lenses.

The good news is that the antique mountings are often found in great condition and sometimes "new, old stock" pieces are available. * These antiques, in the proper condition, are perfectly functional and exceed the quality of anything which can be made today. Today's technology is impressive but the real craftsmanship, unfortunately, belongs in the past. Personally, I'd rather have something made in the distant past if technology is not an issue.

Lets be realistic. Pince-nez will most likely not become a mainstream style of eyewear. Businesses run on profit and the costs of making quality mountings on a small scale are prohibitive. Most opticians prefer the ease and high profit margin of modern eyewear. Very few are craftsmen who enjoy the history and challenge of making antique eyewear functional for the customer.

As you may have read on my other blog LeDandy, I prefer the craftsmanship and material of vintage Bragano shoes which I find on eBay. Somehow the work of today cannot compete with the items of yesteryear. This is not just my opinion but that of professionals in the shoe world. Another worthwhile area of savings and quality can be found in furniture.

But I digress. You should have no qualms about purchasing antique mountings in suitable condition. Lets be grateful these gems from the past are still here. Below are some close up photos of a fingerpiece from one of my fitting sets. Older is better.



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*eBay is still the best available route for purchasing antique pince-nez, while one may have luck at flea markets as well. See post.

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