Nineteenth century spectacles
were typically constructed from a variety of materials. Frames made during this
period included those of gold, silver, German silver, brass, plated, tortoise shell,
blued steel wire and common steel wire. Today these materials are rarely used in
the manufacture of eyeglasses. Our spectacles are constructed of an alloy known
as Monel, a commonly used material in the manufacture of eyeglass frames today.
To capture the patina of original antique spectacles we use a high quality electroplating
process coupled with a protective clear-coat finish. Colors were carefully chosen
to represent the originals they were modeled after, both new and with the patina
of age. Tombstone Silver Dust models period coin silver as new, Virginia City Gold Dust models original 8k-10k gold spectacles, Leadville Tarnished Silver models period coin silver with the patina of age, Naugatuck Valley Tarnished Brass models period brass spectacles with the patina of age and Silver City Silver models high purity silver. See our Specs FX page for more ideas on spectacle finishes.
The color identifications of our spectacles do not necessarily represent the timeline
of gold or silver discoveries in America, but represent the
historic locations in which these discoveries were made.
About Spectacle Temple Styles
design allowed for flexibility of fit with the added advantage of storage in a smaller,
more compact case. Original
19th century spectacles have been found with ribbon or cord attached to
the temple finials verifying use of this early version of a modern
'sports band' to hold spectacles securely on the face. Ribbon, cord,
leather or horsehair can be tied closely to keep the spectacles in place
tied loosely and hung from the neck to
keep spectacles handy for close activities.
Top - Historic EyeWear Company narrow loop slide temple
Bottom - Original antique narrow loop slide temple
The metal to metal contact of the slide
temple will, over time, show some signs of
wear, as do the original spectacles they
were modeled after. This is normal and
expected and adds to the antiqued patina of
your Historic EyeWear Spectacles frames.
"The narrow-loop slide temple was an American innovation which ﬁrst appeared in the
mid 1830's and
was popular beyond 1880.” Alan McBrayer
Alan McBrayer, shown on left, is a foremost authority on early
American spectacle manufacturing, a noted
past president of the Ocular Heritage Society,
and a former reenactor.
He is currently writing a book on the
history of American spectacle manufacturers.