Bow folding spectacles, England, 1650-1750

Made:
1650-1750 in England
Bow, folding spectacles, horn and steel, English, 1650-1750. Full view, graduated grey background.

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Bow, folding spectacles, horn and steel, English, 1650-1750. Full view, graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Bow, folding spectacles, horn and steel, unsigned, English, 1650-1750

Bow-shaped spectacles were difficult to wear. The wearer had to tilt his or her head back slightly so they would stay on. They are hinged at the nose and made of horn. Horn was a cheaper material than the more luxurious tortoiseshell. This suggests the owner was not wealthy. Horn is taken from animals such as sheep and cattle. It becomes brittle over time due to moisture and intense heat and snaps easily.

Details

Category:
Ophthalmology
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A681535
Materials:
glass, horn and steel
Measurements:
folded: 6 mm x 41 mm x 58 mm,
type:
spectacles ophthalmology (aids) and bows, folding, ophthalmology (aids) and spectacles
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • eyeglass