Shop sign in the shape of pince-nez spectacles

1871-1900 in Europe

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Shop sign in the shape of a pair of pince-nez, probably for an optician's shop, number 213, late 19th century

This large pair of pince-nez spectacles was used as a shop sign in the late 1800s. It indicated an optician’s shop or perhaps a spectacle maker. The pince-nez, or nose-pinching spectacles, were particularly popular in the late 1800s – although the design had been in existence for several centuries.

As the numbering of houses and businesses was not standard practice until the 1800s, it was common for shop signs to use symbols to advertise their presence and to describe the type of trade carried out on the premises. This sign would undoubtedly have been quite eye-catching to a potential customer walking down the road.


Object Number:
complete, glass, iron, paint
shop sign
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sign - promotional or advertising artefact
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • eyeglass
  • spectacles
  • nose spectacles
Loan, Wellcome Trust

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.