Saturday, October 30, 2010

Installment II: "The Mechanics of Fitting Glasses"

Two weeks ago I posted the first installment from "The Mechanics of Fitting Glasses" by Robert Pettet (1913). Today is the second installment from this wonderful book.

Depending on your browser, you may have to reload the screen. We have highlighted definitions or terms in yellow and added comments in red. [click above] Please remember that these excerpts are for historical purposes only. Advances in eyewear (e.g., polycarbonate lenses, silicone nose pads) have made some information obsolete.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Revisiting the Old School Yearbook

Not LeDandy's yearbooks. Hell, I threw out my old high school yearbooks just after I graduated. I never regretted doing that as high school was the worst experience of my life. It was a prison for me. College? Arizona State University had about forty thousand students when I attended, which made yearbooks meaningless.

Earlier in the week I received some wonderful books from my colleague on the Pince-Nez Renaissance. Included in the shipment was a yearbook for Colby College in Waterville, Maine. The year.........1904! This was a golden era for pince-nez eyewear so this initially stimulated my interest. Then I started examining the book page by page. This yearbook was fascinating and I couldn't put it down.

Below is a photo of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. A far cry from the "Animal House" style fraternities of today.

colby college fraternity
On to the pince-nez photos. Below is a photo of a young man wearing the hoop spring style popular in this time period. Note the ear chain for his eyeglasses. Back in this time lenses were made of glass. One fall and the lens would probably shatter, hence the security device. Also note that the other fellow in the photo is wearing a tuxedo with peak lapels. Many of the students wore tuxedos for their yearbook photo. The narratives for student photos are quite interesting.

colby college pince nez

The young man below wearing hoop springs also appears in the fraternity photo.

Women also wore pince-nez at this time. Note the beautiful hoop spring on the young woman below.

colby college pince nez
At the back of the yearbook I found local ads for businesses of the time. Naturally a shoe ad caught my interest.

Before you get excited about the price of shoes from 1904, you need to remember that wages were drastically lower than those of today. A skilled factory worker earned about eight dollars a week. A nice pair of shoes cost about half of his net pay. In relative terms, shoes are cheaper today though the quality is much inferior.
Note: this article is also posted on LeDandy (of Northern California)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kelley's New (Old Stock) Pince-Nez

Last month the Renaissance put up a post featuring Kelley wearing a fingerpiece. She recently had prescription lenses made for this beautiful mounting. The process of having lenses made for pince-nez can be quite trying, hence the number of warnings we give the reader when embarking on this eyewear. Kelley had her tribulations in this process but in the end it was well worth the effort.

What were some of the difficulties? As I've experienced, many opticians are reluctant or downright refuse to work on pince-nez. Kelley's optician sent her to a local jeweler to remove the old lenses from the mounting and install the new ones. Also, her new lenses appeared slightly larger than the original pair. The optical store said they threw out her old lenses when she wanted to compare the lenses

Finding a good optician is one of the toughest obstacles for the pince-nez enthusiast. Many stores will not work on them for reasons previously stated in other posts. The Renaissance will gladly advertise optical stores that are "pince-nez friendly." A few stores have taken advantage of this offer. Conversely, speak up if a store didn't treat you properly. In those cases, you may want to post a review on Yelp or another online review site. You may help others avoid an unworthy business.

Kelley's pince-nez adventure ended well. Or should I say, just started. With Kelley is her beautiful dog Tundra.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Pince-Nez Classroom, Installment I: "The Mechanics of Fitting Glasses"

Today is the first installment of the Renaissance's virtual classroom. As mentioned in our last post, the Renaissance will post selections from our library of eyewear books. Each installment will be only a few pages and will contain annotations of what we feel is noteworthy.

You must have the current version of Adobe Reader to view the installments. Adobe Reader is free and can be downloaded from their website.

Without further ado, the Renaissance presents the first installment from "The Mechanics of Fitting Glasses," by Robert Pettet (1913). Depending on your browser, you may have to reload the screen. We have highlighted definitions or terms in yellow and added comments in red. Please remember that these excerpts are for historical purposes only. Advances in eyewear (e.g., polycarbonate lenses, silicone nose pads) have made some information obsolete.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Book Reviews!

A book review on pince-nez? Yes, LeDandy recently received two wonderful books on pince-nez from his colleague. The first book we will discuss is The Mechanics of Fitting Glasses by Robert Pettet (1913). It is an excellent book for the layman and covers the complete spectrum of topics related to this style of eyewear.

LeDandy will present certain chapters in upcoming posts which he believes will be helpful for the pince-nez enthusiast. Lets be realistic, a book on eyewear is not like reading an exciting novel. The material in this book, and others, will be presented in digestible portions.

Is it necessary to understand these books to wear pince-nez? Apparently not as LeDandy has worn pince-nez for the last two years on a full-time basis. However, these books are important as they are the only sources for knowledge held by experts in this eyewear. The true experts trained in pince-nez are no longer with us as this style faded from mainstream use in the 1940s.

Please keep in mind that a huge evolutionary step happened after this book. Silicone nose pads. With this wonderful accessory, one can wear pince-nez with much greater comfort and security. Also, there is much more allowance for fit with nose pads.

Below are some scans from the book. Future presentations will be in Adobe pdf format.


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