Thursday, July 1, 2010

Karl's Pince-Nez Story


The Renaissance recently received a great story and some photos from Karl in New York. He is new to the world of pince-nez and his story is most encouraging. It speaks for itself so I'll give you the pertinent portion of his email:

"I would like to begin by thanking you for your fantastic resource. If it wasn't for Pince-Nez Renaissance, I would never have been able to obtain all the information necessary to have my own pince-nez, a dream based heavily on my two heroes from the past, Teddy Roosevelt and G.K. Chesterton. It certainly was a long journey, but one well worth it.

I know you have often mentioned the problems with purchasing off eBay, but I just couldn't resist bidding on what appeared to be a lot containing two fingerpiece pince-nez in perfect condition (along with 4 other random spectacles in poor condition from the 1940s -50s). At the time the auction was set to end, I was on line for a roller coaster at an amusement park, I borrowed a family member's Blackberry and managed to snipe the auction last minute. I got the whole lot for under $30 with shipping. After receiving the package I immediately tried on one of the pince-nez, they were a perfect fit. I couldn't believe my luck.

Then of course came the tricky part, finding an optician who would make new lenses. At the first place I visited the receptionist looked at me as though I was crazy, and proceeded to call the optician into the room. He looked at the pince-nez and immediately said "No, I won't do that" and walked away without another word. I was discouraged, but kept on trying.

I was given polite turn downs at several other outfits before I was finally greeted with "I collect antique eyeglasses as well, I'll do anything to help." The entire office knew me by name after a week of phone calls about the best way to get the project done (I needed a special index lens, which would have otherwise have been too thick). [Sacco Eye Group] So, after one failed attempt with scratched lens, and about 4 weeks of work, I finally managed to get my pince-nez on my face and out the door."


Karl has been wearing his pince-nez for over eight months. I am very impressed with his determination in finding an optician. Unfortunately, many opticians refuse to work with pince-nez, as Karl found out. Then again, there are the uncommon ones who welcome the challenge of working with this eyewear.

Also, I am intrigued by his motivation for wearing pince-nez. Teddy Roosevelt is one of the best known wearers of the hoop spring style, but G.K. Chesterton made me do a little research. His photo is below. Regardless of your role models, this eyewear flatters most faces and is quite practical.

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