Bracket and screws for shop sign in the shape of pince-nez spectacles

Made:
1871-1900

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Science Museum Group
The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Bracket and two screws for 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.

Details

Category:
Ophthalmology
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A606423/2
Materials:
iron and paint
type:
shop sign
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • eyeglass
  • spectacles
  • nose spectacles
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sign - promotional or advertising artefact
credit:
Loan, Wellcome Trust