Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy New Year!

Most of us would rate 2012 as a terrible year for tragic news events world wide and look forward to 2013 with some degree of guarded hope that things will be better. We at the Pince-Nez Renaissance hope that this unique site/blog will continue to offer valuable, detailed information for those who are interested in wearing a pince-nez.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just in "Case"

We have often mentioned that a pince-nez should be stored in a sturdy, strong case when not in use. Since appropriate cases for this purpose are no longer made, one needs to look elsewhere. Few opticians have suitable cases, certainly the big optical chains don't. The best bet is eBAY. There are many eyeglass cases available on eBay, some are quite reasonable.

It is most important that a pince-nez sits securely in its case: the cover should not press down too tightly that it disturbs the bridge, nose guards or springs. Yet the case should not be so large that the pince-nez can move around freely when it is closed. If this happens, the pince-nez can be cushioned with an eyeglass cleaning cloth or piece of soft, cotton fabric.

The cases in the photo show that each one is the correct size for the pince-nez it holds. Naturally I believe that none can compare in quality and elegance to the gorgeous sterling silver pince-nez case shown on the January 14, 2012 post.

One must use extreme care with storing pince-nez with safety devices: chains, and cords can easily become entangled around springs, nose guards and bridge which can cause serious damage to a pince-nez. We hope this post makes a "strong case" for safe, proper pince-nez storage!

While sturdy cases are still made and like the antiques, metal based: the key word here is appropriate.... the modern variety are generally too large for a pince-nez.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hyde Park, FDR and Pince-Nez Myth

The Entering Hyde Park sign has a wonderful caricature of FDR redolent of one of his classic poses: the jutting jaw, cigarette holder and his trademark rimless hoop spring pince-nez.

There are countless myths surrounding FDR. The most persistent one being that he wore a pince-nez to copy his distant cousin Theodore. FDR began wearing a rimless hoop spring pince-nez around 1901 while a Harvard student. He was not copying anyone, merely opting to be stylish and up to date with current fashion trends of the era.

The Roosevelt estate at Hyde Park, New York is a National Park and well worth a day's visit. When Roosevelt spoke of returning home to Hyde Park, he meant the town of Hyde Park, his estate was called Springwood.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The American Optical Museum

The American Optical Company of Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA was for nearly a century the world's largest maker of ophthalmic products, especially eyeglasses (pince-nez) and spectacles. The Fits-U label became widely known for fine quality eyewear.

Famous for the fine quality of their products and technological advances in the optical field, the company by the 1980's could not compete with foreign, low quality makers and in 1984 closed its huge factory. The town of Southbridge has never recovered economically but new renewal plans may result in a turn-around.

Dedicated volunteers, many of whom are former employees of AO, have created a museum devoted to optical products, mainly eyewear. If you go to this website you can access three AO catalogs from1920, 1931 and 1935. These are much smaller versions of the famous 500+ page 1912 book.

The pages below can easily be enlarged. There are many fine quality photos. Four of the pince-nez from 1931 can be seen below. Note that all prices are for opticians only. These catalogs were not available to the general public. Even considering the huge decline in what a dollar could purchase compared with today's prices and the optician's markup to clients, probably 100%, the super quality mountings and frames were an amazing bargain.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Pince-Nez Case Fit for a Dandy

LeDandy, your humble servant, had a rather unique gift request for his birthday: a sterling silver eyeglass case. After exhaustive research, which was a blast, I decided upon this case made in England circa 1909. The measurements seemed right and the case appeared to be in very good condition. A small ding on the back and some surface scratches but otherwise fine. Most antique silver eyeglass cases have a fair number of condition issues.

It is important to see the hallmark on silver. On this case, the hallmarks are both on the front and back of the case. I found a good reference on the web for researching hallmarks. According to the site, my case was made by Sampson Mordan.

I did not buy this case so it could sit in a cabinet. I am using it to store my pince-nez. My hoop springs fit inside perfectly.

This birthday gift combined my love for silver tchotchkies with my love for pince-nez. A match made in heaven! Thanks JD for the great gift.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

An Alternative to Silicone Nose Pads?

Yes, back in the day (1902).....

Thank you Mr. Johnson for sending in this great vintage ad.


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