Find of the Month: Antique Pince Nez
December 2, 2013
I went to the Montgomery Street Antique Shop for a girl’s day out. There is a small restaurant in the center of the enormous antique store that serves absolutely delicious tea, sandwiches, and quiche. Absolutely fantastic! If you are in Fort Worth Texas for any reason, it is really worth a go, but be warned: you have to walk by hundreds of thousands of superb antiques on your way in, and if you are like me, you won’t be able to resist wandering around for a few hours. After tucking into a lovely lunch and poking my head into every possible corner, I left the shop with a few lovely pairs of antique eyeglasses:
Silver Framed Eyeglasses, circa 1850-80
Rimless Pince Nez with Retractable Chain Pin, circa 1910-1930
Available on Etsy
Folding Pince Nez, circa 1885-1925
I love them all, but as is so often the case with second-hand eyeglasses, I didn’t expect to be able to wear any of them in a functional capacity, but I love to try things on anyways. The first two pairs are very high magnification, much more than my eyes need (I am quite nearsighted thanks to years of miniature making and book reading). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the very last pair of pince nez not only still worked, but had suitable lenses as well!
The magnification on them is very light, perhaps 1.25x, but I can see clearly through them even at a distance. The bridge of my nose is nearly too prominent for the glasses to sit well, but if I wear them angry-librarian style, I can make quite good use of them both as a costume piece and handy computer glasses.
Can you believe the local library wouldn’t hire me? The nerve! I would have looked so fabulous re-shelving novels…
When I first found these dark-rimmed pince nez, I was befuddled by a pin that stuck out of one side. A little research revealed that this is a folding model; the little pin holds the lenses together so you can discreetly pocket your glasses when you don’t need them!
I hope everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving! We are gearing up for Christmas and it may be a little slow posting for a while. However, I will definitely keep a steady flow of entertaining history and costuming tidbits on The Pragmatic Costumer Facebook page!