Friday, December 30, 2011

A Pince-Nez New Year"s Resolution

We at the Renaissance believe that this has been a very productive year as evidenced by increased interest in pince-nez eyeglasses. Daily hits on this website have increased as have email questions. Readers' photos and "stories" have been wonderful. We hope more readers will contribute.

If you have a strong desire to wear a pince-nez and the means, but have not yet taken the first or even final step to obtain one, we urge you to make this a prime New Year's resolution. This may be a high point in your 2012 year!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Revisiting the Movies: Eyewear Review

The 2007 film My Boy Jack is superb in every aspect, except its depiction of the period's eyewear.

I don't want to give away any of the plot details except about the total lack of historical accuracy regarding eyewear.

Young Jack (John Kipling) is seventeen years old in the film and he is played by Daniel Radcliffe. Jack is extremely myopic and desperately wants to enlist in the army. His famous father, Rudyard Kipling, suggests that he be fitted to a pince-nez before going to his army physical exam in 1914. The pince-nez is a rimmed flexible guard type complete with a long black ribbon. In typical movie style, this pince-nez is twenty-five years out of date and won't stay on the bridge of his nose for more than five seconds. Jack hates it. No wonder!

Jack fails the eye exam and thus the physical. Because of his dad's influence, Jack is able to join the Irish Guards and is immediately shipped off to join the fighting in France.

Jack ends up wearing silver rimmed spectacles with unsuitable straight arms (temples). Jack's specs fall off at every turn and he is blind without them. Surely he would have been properly fitted to a pair with cable temples which wrapped around the back of the ears. This would be necessary for combat situations.

Movie makers, despite often being historically accurate regarding costumes still fail miserably when it comes to eyewear!

[article submitted by Richard Johnson]

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Price Range for Pince-Nez

During the past three year we have received many emails recommending sellers of pince-nez. Sometimes we are shocked by the prices charged by many sellers for antique pince-nez mountings and frames. We believe that a reasonable price range for pince-nez, hoop springs or fingerpiece, is anywhere from $10 to $40 for base metal or gold-filled material in wearable condition. Gold mountings in 10k or 14k should be in the $60 to $125 range. This range is based on recent eBay sales.

As previously mentioned, you may have to try on several pince-nez to find one with the right fit. This is why we emphasize the buyer looks for a good return policy.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Word on Glass Lenses

We at the Renaissance continue to receive emails regarding glass lenses for pince-nez despite the fact that the subject has been covered extensively in previous posts. Modern glass lenses in the US, by Federal Law (circa 1974), must be made of tempered glass which is shatterproof. It can't be drilled for use in rimless pince-nez. Safety glass is also quite heavy and as far as we know, fairly thick. If we're wrong about this, please let us know (via comment section).

We received a thoughtful email from an optician in the UK who has invented a detailed, lengthy process for drilling safety glass lenses to make them suitable for rimless eyeglasses (pince-nez) and spectacles. While we appreciate his inventiveness, the thickness and weight of these lenses would tend to make the pince-nez both uncomfortable and unsteady on the bridge of the nose.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bifocal Lenses

[article contributed by Richard Johnson]

Bifocals were invented by Benjamin Franklin over 250 years ago. Franklin cleverly cut two pairs of lenses in half and placed the stronger reading segments in the bottom half of a small metal frame and the weaker segments on top. For the next 130 years bifocals were essentially the same until rimless eyeglasses (pince-nez) and spectacles became very popular. The fact that one needed only a small reading segment was long obvious to make bifocals less of an annoyance. The solution came in the cemented bifocal lens which was revolutionary at the time and worked well since lenses were the flat, thin, non-toric type. The reading segment was either a small circle or oval.

The invention of the toric or curved lens in the early 1900’s was followed by the invention of the Kryptock bifocal lens in which the two segments were fused together creating a far less visible appearance of two distinct lenses. The kryptock bifocal lens was much more expensive but gained steadily in popularity during the 1915 to 1930 period. The 1930’s to early 1950’s saw some variations in the shape of the reading segment… a flat top to the circular reading segment was created… this type eventually by the 1980’s became the most popular type of bifocal lens.

Interestingly a return to the Franklin type of bifocal lens became popular in the 1960’s it was called the executive bifocal lens. The big problem is that the successful use of bifocals means that the wearer must be able to almost make the reading segment disappear when not doing close work… the individual must be able to see around the reading segment…this can’t be done if the reading segment takes up the entire bottom half of the lens.

Often those who say they can’t wear bifocals have either not given them a chance or continue to fuss with two pairs of glasses…. It can take as long as two weeks of great frustration to get used to them but with patience the wearer discovers suddenly that he or she is unaware of the previous annoyance.

Just as many people have had problems with progressive lenses and despite trying them just can’t wear them.. period. This seems to be the case with most people who have worn traditional bifocals. Progressives are often three times the cost of traditional bifocal lenses.

Whichever type you choose be aware that there will remain times when they are frustrating.

For those of us who wear a pince-nez it’s extremely important that a hoopspring or oxford type pince-nez stays attached to the nose bridge in the same position each time it is clipped on: if the lenses droop or slope down, serious problems can arise. This isn’t a problem with the fingerpiece or astig clip pince-nez.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Progressive Lenses

No, not as in Flo the Progressive spokesperson. She is mighty cute and LeDandy likes her. This post is about progressive lenses. Lenses with different levels of correction blended together for us older folks. The Wikipedia article referenced above is quite informative.

LeDandy recently had a set made for his fingerpiece. I was concerned that the lenses of my fingerpiece would be too small for progressives. The lenses are the traditional classic size (one and a half inches wide, one and three sixteenths of an inch tall) and I was not going to alter the size of my lenses for something as frivolous as vision.

There was a period of adjustment for about two weeks as my vision adjusted to the lenses. Progressive lenses were a wise choice for me.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Proper Pince-Nez Fit

Depth of the Nose Bridge is as Important as the Width

[article submitted by Richard Johnson]

There have been a number of emails recently concerning proper pince-nez fit. The Renaissance has covered these issues previously in great detail.

Many of our readers have expressed concern about figures (i.e., measurements in mm) quoted on eBAY and elsewhere regarding bridge width. Alas, these numbers are generally useless and are quoted by those who lack real experience in fitting a pince-nez with success.

An important fact is often overlooked: nose bridge depth. The fact that an individual also needs some depth to the nose bridge for the pince-nez nose guard grips to attach on to it securely. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who may lack the amount of nose bridge flesh to be able to wear a pince-nez which will remain in place.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Question of Size: Hoop Springs

For those who are new to the old world of pince-nez, it is not a "one size fits all" situation which is found with modern eyewear. The question of determining size for proper fit has been covered in great depth in two prior posts [post 1, post 2]. Hoop springs, by nature of their design, are more forgiving in terms of size latitude for fit. Nevertheless, one must exercise discretion in choosing a hoop spring for wear. I have tried on many hoop springs that did not fit.

So how does one select the right size of hoop spring for wear? Since many purchases are made online, you cannot try them on before the purchase. This is why we emphasize that buyers check out the return policy of seller before committing to the sale. With hoop springs, I recommend looking at the distance between the nose guards and the design of the hoop spring itself. I recommend using simple classifications: small, medium and large. Forget about measurements in millimeters. The nose is a three dimensional object.

Below are some example of different sizes. With experience, you'll be able to easily classify a hoop spring from a photo.




It does look like there isn't much difference between the medium and large examples in terms of distance between nose guards. The real difference is in the style of the hoop spring itself. The c-clip spring is snugger than the flat spring shown in the large example. I speak from experience as the large example with nose pads was too big for me. The medium example is my current hoop spring. I wear them with nose pads.

Remember that you will almost certainly want to wear nose pads with your hoop springs for comfort and security. This decreases the distance between the nose guards and has a marked affect on fit. You will want to try on your pince-nez with nose pads to determine proper fit.

As I've said before, a visual approximation is just that. An estimate. You need to try them on with nose pads for fit.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A British Journalist and his Pince-Nez

[The following text was submitted by Guy Fleming. He provided his email address for this story: ]

My consciousness of pince-nez awoke at an early age, since this was the style of eyeglass favoured by my paternal grandfather, a favourite uncle and a delightful teacher who taught me how to add up and spell! Also, as an open Gay. I noticed that a significant number of fellow-Gays and lesbians chose to wore pince-nez (I`m going back 35 years or so) and, in a sense, I felt attracted to them because of that. Now, however, I wear `em because I like `em!

However, I had no desire to wear pince-nez until my 40s when it was relatively easy to get hold of the right finger-piece. I wore them alternatively with standard frames but, a few years later, decided to go full-time with them. I have never regretted that. This was because I had noticed, occasionally, not only middle-aged and elderly men wearing them, but also fashion-conscious ladies both here in the UK and in Belgium, where I worked for some time.

Finger-pieces were by then more difficult to obtain, but visiting independent opticians, who had been in the business a long time, paid off. Most of them still kept a wide range. In all that time, no- one had scorned my choice of eyewear – at least, not to my face. Rather I have received such compliments as” snazzy,” “they suit you,” and the inevitable “how do they stay on?” Interestingly, no one even commented on my pince-nez when I was on the reporting staff of two daily papers, where you would think they might. Otherwise, all that was said was complimentary.

Just recently, I needed a fresh prescription, and the national opticians` chain to which I went, smoothly carried this through without any murmurs about “this may be difficult,” and so on.

Incidentally, I have noticed, looking at old photographs of statesmen, etc, I see that only the great Franklin D. Roosevelt wore pince-nez, but so did his predecessor President Wilson, and HIS predecessor, Teddy Roosevelt! In the Second World War, they were worn by Canadian Premier, McKenzie King, Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov, Soviet KGB chief, Beria, and outstanding British Parliamentarian, Leo Amery, among many others I am sure. So we are in great (and not so great!) company!

[Editor's Note: Guy's large round lenses clearly work for him. Nevertheless, we advise novices to start with the classic small oval lenses for best results. Ear loops are an optional item and not necessary for wear. ]

Sunday, August 7, 2011

LeDandy's New Fingerpiece

LeDandy's new fingerpiece! This is my second fingerpiece and it is a beauty. As previously mentioned, it is new old stock and looks like it was made this year. Fortunately it has the craftsmanship of a previous era.

I used a local optician and they did a good job with them.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Glasses for LeDandy

Pince-nez, that is. I've been long overdue and I can tell that the time has come for a new prescription. After all, I am getting older .... and better.

Pictured above you can see the next candidate for lenses. It is a fingerpiece style pince-nez mounting given to me by Richard Johnson, my very good friend and colleague. This particular mounting is new old stock and in pristine condition. I'll be wearing silicone nose pads with them for added comfort and security.

The hard part with pince-nez, as you may have read, is finding an optician to make lenses and follow through with a fitting. I've found most opticians to be lazy and unmotivated even in this poor economy. The last optician I used for pince-nez has gone out of business. I picked out a new optician and will post her business if the lenses turn out as expected.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Adam's Story

[in his own words]
I can no longer remember what first drew me to the pince-nez. Being from Chicago, I've always admired the former Presidents Roosevelt and what they did for America. I think it was from their Wikipedia articles that I had discovered the name of their particular style of glasses. Occasionally, I would get the idea in my head to try and find a mounting, but always with little to no luck – after all, they are no longer made.

The past few years I have been living in Scotland for school and am quickly approaching the beginning of my last year. I study veterinary medicine at the Royal Dick, which means our last year is spent in the hospital doing our rotations: a professional work environment. Suddenly, the need to wear a shirt and tie means overhauling my wardrobe, which then meant reexamining how I present myself. As a life-long wearer of spectacles, this seemed like the perfect time to take the plunge and really try to find a pince-nez mounting for myself.

Eventually I found the Renaissance, which ended up being a great resource. Both Alan and Richard were incredibly helpful when answering my questions – whether they were about lenses or styles. With time, I managed to track down a few mountings that roughly fit me. After getting my eyes examined, a company based in the US made my lenses for me... and then it seemed that everything went wrong.

My first mounting broke on me during adjustments, which was tragic considering its quality. Thankfully I had the second mounting, which lasted for about two weeks when one of the springs failed on me. Turns out that once a pince-nez mounting breaks in almost any fashion, it's irreparable. And all my waiting to see if someone could fix the mountings would end up being a waste of time. So then, it was back to eBay.

Through perseverance I eventually got my hands on a few more mountings. The current fingerpiece I have been using has been with me for about three months now with no issues. With luck and care, I hope it will last. Plus, it's great hearing all the compliments I receive.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Soldiers and Pince-Nez

One of aims of Renaissance has always been to dispel the many myths concerning pince-nez: the biggest one being comfort and security.

Fascinating is the fact that the majority of soldiers during the 1880-1920 era who needed visual correction wore pince-nez eyeglasses. That it was the most popular and stylish eyewear made this a logical choice. Equally important is the fact that army officials recommended a pince-nez as the ideal choice because of the ease in wearing a gas mask over it. Spectacles proved to be less comfortable and rather cumbersome under masks or goggles.

Interesting too is the fact that military pilots particularly the German air aces were allowed to fly without perfect vision during the Great War (1914-1918) and most wore a rimless pince-nez without any "safety devices."

The fact that a pince-nez was so successful in both military and civilian circles was of course due to the great skill opticians had in fitting a pince-nez expertly to the individuals nose bridge. The end result was that the wearer had no concerns about stability because his pince-nez remained securely and very comfortably attached even during violent physical activity.

While the popularity of pince-nez for young people declined in the 1920's, particularly in the USA, it was not completely unusual for European soldiers and officers to wear a pince-nez (usually a rimless fingerpiece) even as late as World War 2 particularly in Russia and Germany!

[Note: top photo, young German officer, c. 1929; bottom photo, U.S. Army officer, c. 1917]

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pince-Nez for a Job Interview?

It worked for me. I interviewed for my current job about six months ago and wore my pince-nez to every interview with them. At left is a photo from the day of one of the interviews. Did anyone notice them? Not until I discussed this eyewear as one of my hobbies.

On my other blog, LeDandy (of Northern California), I suggested in one post that readers consider bold attire for job interviews. However, I conceded that wearing pince-nez may be a bit too much even for me. Well, I broke my own rule.

The job market is horrible these days and it will probably get worse before it improves. Competition is unbelievable. You need to set yourself apart from the crowd and make a strong impression.

Will prospective employers object to this eyewear and draw unfavorable conclusions about you from it? Some will. Others won't. There are many factors to consider. The choice is up to you.

Oh yes, I broke another unwritten rule about neckwear for interviews. LeDandy wears only bow ties.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hoop Springs in Sutter Creek

LeDandy and family recently visited the historic old town of Sutter Creek in Amador County California. Last year we had a wonderful time in this old town with gold mining roots from the 1850s. Now there are many bed & breakfast inns, antique stores and wine tasting rooms.

LeDandy wore his hoop spring pince-nez. Did anyone notice? One sales clerk in an art gallery did ask me about them. Of course no one in the antique stores notices them.

LeDandy read The Teapot Dome Scandal by Laton McCartney on this trip. An excellent fun read.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pince-Nez to Avoid Buying

My Renaissance partner often gets carried away on a particular topic. Despite my view that this subject has been covered in the past sufficiently, I agreed to post the following.

Given the sellers on eBAY or antique dealers often know nothing about pince-nez, I believe that periodic reminders to our readers re: items to avoid purchasing are worth considering: after all why waste money on a pince-nez which is so defective that it can't be worn.

While at times one look at a photo "tells all"... this classic saddlebridge rimless fingerpiece has a broken spring. The other rimless mounting shown looks fine but it's a spectacle mounting not a pince-nez.

The attractive but cheaply made rimless hoopspring sunglass pince-nez has rivets rather than lens screws and re-lensing it is generally not possible. This type of non-prescription sunglass was the most popular of all in the 1895 to 1920 era. It came in various widths, lens colors, sizes and was sold for about 25 cents at most stores. The nose guard design was clever and easy to adjust making it both comfortable and secure.

The classic rimless hoopspring with the bent bridge can't be adjusted because it would immediately snap and break.

We hope that this post may prove useful. As always your comments are encouraged and most welcome.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Jacob's Pince-Nez

I love it when we get emails and photos from our readers who have bought pince-nez and have lenses made for them. Those who have lenses made for their mountings have shown a commitment to wearing this style of eyewear. Jacob sent in these photos of himself, each showing a different pince-nez.

In the photo below, Jacob is wearing a shawl-collared tuxedo along with a flexible guard pince-nez. The frames appear a bright gold and there is a good reason for this coloring: he had the frames gold-plated by a jeweler! A local optician crafted the lenses.

flexible guard pince nez
Jacob also bought the fingerpiece style pince-nez as seen below. He had transition lenses made by Eyeglass Lens Direct in Sugarland, Texas. He had the lensmaker outline the the lenses from an old pair of templed glasses. Jacob was very pleased with their work and he recommends them for lenses. For added comfort and security, he added silicone nose pads from QTE.

Thank you Jacob for your photos and recommendations. I'm sure you'll be pleased with your purchases.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Buying on eBay

The Pince-Nez Renaissance has stated many times that eBay is by far the best place to shop for a high quality antique pince-nez at a reasonable price. That prospective buyers have been warned repeatedly to use care and caution while shopping is just plain common sense.

While the majority of sellers know nothing about pince-nez, a sharp, detailed group of close-up photos can speak volumes as to condition of the pince-nez or any item. If the photo(s) is not detailed, or the condition of the object is lacking or sketchy, one should contact the seller via eBAY and ask questions. A good seller will respond in a timely manner to your concerns. If no response is received, your choice is simple: don't bid!

My ever vigilant Renaissance partner was surfing eBAY under the term a"antique eyeglasses" and noticed a group of what was described as a twenty plus set of new old stock (nos) glasses nose bridges. The tiny photo showed them in a fingerpiece trial set box.. There was no way to tell if the bridges were rimless eyeglasses (pince-nez) or spectacle bridges. Efforts to enlarge the photo didn't offer any clues. Mr. Johnson attempted to contact the seller via eBAY on the day item was listed for more details. There was no response. The item sold with one bid for $39.95. This would have been the bargain of the century if the mountings were rimless pince-nez. Again, caveat emptor! No answer to the prospective buyers means no bid. The sole bid was no doubt from a savvy optician who will sell the mountings for $100 each.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hoop Spring or Fingerpiece?

The advantages and disadvantages of both a fingerpiece and a hoop spring pince-nez have been previously noted in great detail on this site. Some of our readers who desire to wear a pince-nez and, after studying the Renaissance, are still having trouble making a choice.

Here is a simple solution based solely on the length of one's nose. If your nose is short, a classic saddle bridge fingerpiece will make the nose appear shorter. A classic C bridge hoop spring, with its high curved arch, will serve to make the nose appear longer. Conversely, if one thinks his/her nose is too long the saddle bridge fingerpiece pince-nez wil decrease the appearance of length.

Naturally, we at the Renaissance advocate that a serious full-time pince-nez wearer should get both the fingerpiece and a hoop spring, then alternate wearing each one!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Zyl Hoop Spring: Rimmed or Rimless?

Zyl rimmed fingerpiece and hoopspring pince-nez became very popular from about 1915 to the early 1920's. If you look closely at the photos you'll notice the "straps" and lens screws of a typical rimless pince-nez. If one were to purchase one of the same design and wanted to have it re-lensed, it would have to be fitted with rimless lenses because the zyl would crack and break due to age and dryness. Note also the closeup showing the screw holding the strap and bridge spring. Quality. The wonderful flat, thin sanitary type nose guards are easy to adjust and silicone nose pads can easily be applied for increased comfort and security. This is a great example of a fine quality pince-nez with an elegant yet minimalistic appearance guaranteed to enhance ones looks!

[LeDandy's note: My colleague provided this post. I would add that only an advanced user of pince-nez experiment with this style. ]

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Adam's Pince-Nez

Adam is an American veterinary student doing a year of study in Scotland. A full-time spectacles wearer, he has been interested in wearing a classic rimless fingerpiece pince-nez. Despite long delays he was finally able to obtain a pince-nez which was a perfect fit. He also had thin polycarb prescription lenses which were just the right size and shape. Unfortunately after a couple of weeks his pince-nez suffered a broken spring and they cannot be repaired.

Adam, while discouraged, is not about to give up on wearing a rimless fingerpiece pince-nez. He is obtaining a few mountings in fine condition and will have his lenses fitted to the best one. We will keep our readers posted on his progress and eventual success. Luckily opticians in Scotland are more willing to spend quality time and effort with their clients.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kelley's Pince-Nez Story

The Renaissance previously put up two posts on Kelley, a pince-nez enthusiast from Idaho. She has a blog of her own called "Our North Idaho Life" which is quite aptly named. Kelley's pince-nez evolution mirrors my own as she shows that one must be determined to pince-nez. The problem: finding the right optician. Newcomers to this eyewear believe the difficulty lies in the mounting. Wrong. It is finding a competent and motivated optician.

Kelley found the right optician in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho: Little Mo's Optical. She knew that she found the right place when she presented her pince-nez to the optician. The optician said "Oh, pinch nose. I have a pair that were my grandmothers." Kelley knew she was in the right place at that point.

The pince-nez shown are transition lenses with the classic size oval lens. It is a winning look and the Renaissance wishes Kelley much happiness with her new glasses.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Contemporary Pince-Nez Mountings?

Several Renaissance readers have written to us as they are reluctant to obtain an antique pince-nez mounting, even "new old stock" or one in near mint condition. These readers insist on a mounting which has been recently made. As we have stated many times, these pince-nez do not work for full-time wear and are not worthy of re-lensing. The reason is simple: these manufacturers have not bothered to investigate the reasons how and why the classic pince-nez were so successful and popular. Clearly, many manufacturers haven't even looked at old photos. This modern pince-nez has nothing slightly resembling the quality nose guards of the past. The frames pictured below are an abomination from a pince-nez perspective.

If you recall, there was a Renaissance post showing a page from a Sears catalog dated 1908. The price of a pince-nez was $1.25. One may believe that these pince-nez were cheap items from the past given the current value of $1.25. Please keep in mind that back in 1908 a highly skilled workman would make about $5 a week. These glasses were not cheap items.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

On Lens Shape: A Reader's Poem

The Renaissance has some talented readers in its realm. We recently received a poem from Max, a reader in Russia. He contributed a wonderful short poem below on lenses for pince-nez.

It can be varied and even be square.
But if you're beginner we need be aware
That you've understood very simple inform
The best of pince-nez shape is just oval form.

Yes, oval lenses are universally the best choice. Stick with a proven winner. The Renaissance thanks Max for his thoughtful and well-crafted poem.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Profiles in Style

My good friend Ted recently sent me a few pictures of himself at a conference in Washington, DC. Ted and I are true brothers when it comes to style as we both favor the bow tie and pince-nez. In fact, these items are our sartorial staples. The important fact is that both Ted and I feel very comfortable with our eyewear and necktie choices. In being comfortable, we can be our best when it comes to the substantive details of our engagements for which we are dressed.

What initially attracted me to pince-nez was how it looked on the face when viewed from the side. I can't describe the reasons behind my opinion but I find the look to be quite flattering. Below is a good profile picture of Ted. Very distinguished!

I really like the photo below. The camelhair jacket reminds me of my LaJolla businessman look in that both Ted and I stand out from the crowd in our respective pictures. That is why I kept the background in the image below. In a sea of navy and grey suits, Ted stands out in a proper and dignified manner.

My thanks to Ted and his friend Mike for submitting these pictures.

[cross-posted today on LeDandy (of Northern California)]

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Mark of LeDandy

LeDandy received a very nice Valentine's Day gift from Jon Dean last week. A custom stamp featuring a pince-nez impression. The stamp itself is about two and a half inches across and it makes a nice image as seen below. The pince-nez shown is of the flexible guard style.

I decided to use the stamp for personal correspondence by placing my initials inside one lens. A distinctive touch! [penny is courtesy of Jon Dean]

Saturday, February 12, 2011

More Pince-Nez Poetry

Several weeks ago an anonymous reader submitted a poem to the Renaissance. Here is another poem from our reader. Thank you.

The Lovely Young Lady

With a pince-nez on her nose
Everywhere that she goes.

She may not start a trend
And knows well that in the end.

Her looks are enhanced
A few will be entranced

That her individualist ways
May pay off in future days.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The 1913 Hawkeye

My colleague very kindly sent me this college yearbook from the University of Iowa dated 1913. Yes, that is almost one hundred years ago. Anyone appearing in this book has since passed on. Fortunately their images and stories remain with us. For pince-nez enthusiasts, this yearbook was published during the golden era of pince-nez which spanned from 1885 to 1919. Towards the end of this golden era, younger people moved more towards round tortoise shell spectacles.

When compared to the Colby Colby yearbook of 1904, one can see the popularity of the fingerpiece style as seen in the 1913 Hawkeye yearbook. Hoop springs were predominant until 1905, then the fingerpiece style took over.

Without further ado, LeDandy presents these wonderful images from a time long since past. Click on each image for a full screen view.

Below is the team photo for the women's basketball squad.

Even athletes wore pince-nez as seen in this close-up of the above page.

Here is a close-up from the above page showing a young man wearing the popular fingerpiece.

While the students preferred the fingerpiece, faculty and administration remained loyal to hoop springs. Below is John Bowman, President of the University of Iowa from 1911 through 1914. He was the first University of Iowa alumnus to become its president. He later went on to become the Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh for roughly twenty years and he died in 1962. I'd like to think he wore his pince-nez until the end.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Vintage Pince-Nez Ads

My colleague was kind enough to send me a fantastic book entitled "Advertising in the Retail Optical Business" printed in 1912 by the Page Publishing Company. It was a different world back then. No tv advertising and celebrities were not the main attraction in advertisements. The products actually had to stand on their own merits.

Shown below is sample ad copy from the book. The introduction to this section in the book reads as follows:

The advertisements in this collection are intended to serve as examples of what may conservatively be considered "profitable copy." Each advertisement is not necessarily complete as an announcement to be used continuously, but when used in a series with others printed in the collection, in line with a carefully laid out campaign, will surely bring the desired results under other equally favorable conditions.

Click on each image for a full screen display. You may have to double click for the largest image. These images are printed without permission of the publisher. The copyright has long since expired. Nevertheless, the Renaissance thanks the Page Publishing Company.

pince nez ad advertisement vintage

pince nez ad advertisement vintage

pince nez ad advertisement vintage

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another Rectangular Pince-Nez Wearer

Yes, another enthusiast of the rectangular lens shape with pince-nez. The Renaissance recently received a photo and brief story from Mark. The following is Mark's statement.

"I am, in general, a fan of the esoteric, and of early 20th century design, and a glasses wearer since around 9. So getting set up with some nez pince was really just a matter of time. Add to that an upcoming wedding that, while not necessarily themed, had inclinations of that periods aesthetic, and I decided it was time."

The rectangular lenses can work for some people. However, the Renaissance strongly urges newcomers to pince-nez to get the classic oval lenses which are suitable for most facial types. Please see the table of contents for more information.

Thank you Mark for your story and photo.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Buffalo Bill's Pince-Nez

Mary, a contributor to the Renaissance, sent in this photo that she took at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming. Pictured above is a nice hoop spring pince-nez. The next step was to find a picture of Buffalo Bill wearing pince-nez. Mary did an extensive search and she couldn't find anything. Taking the initiative, she wrote to the center and asked if they have a photo of Mr. Cody wearing pince-nez. She is awaiting their response and will keep us informed.

Thank you Mary for the photo and story of historical interest.


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