Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Word on Security Devices

The picture is one reason why many people link pince-nez with a security cord. In this great portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, his hoop spring is attached to a security cord secured on his jacket. Back in his day, one fall of the pince-nez and the fragile glass lenses were almost guaranteed to shatter. LeDandy admits that even his well-fitted hoop springs have fallen off his face on very few occasions.* Hence there was a practical reason to wear a security device a hundred years ago.

Shown below are three common types of security devices: the hairpin, the ear loop and the retractable cord (by Ketcham-McDougall). I do not have a chain attached to the ear loop but one would be present if worn.

The Ketcham-McDougall retractable cord is a beautiful and highly functional item even after a hundred years. As I've said in previous posts, the craftsmanship and materials of the old days are generally far superior to anything found today. The case is about the size of a quarter and the cord can be locked in place.

The ear loop was addressed in a previous post.

Thanks to modern plastic lenses, there is no longer a need for a security cord. Plastic lenses can survive almost any fall. Security devices make wonderful collectibles and they have their place in the theater for historical plays. However, LeDandy believes that one would look quite silly wearing a cord these days with pince-nez.
*LeDandy's fingerpiece has never fallen off his nose and he wears this style regularly, alternating with hoop springs.


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