Oval Eyeglasses - Straight Bow, 19th Century
These gold colored frames are good for all impressions from 1835-1880 and were the most common type seen during the Civil War. Lenses are clear with no magnification. Frames are screwed together and will easily accept prescription lenses from your local eye-care provider.
Prior to the Civil War, original eye glass frames were fastened with a
molten lead plug. During the Civil War, Americans used screws to fasten eye glass frames allowing prescriptions and lenses to be replaced.
Compared to modern eyeglasses,
antique spectacles are very small. Lens grinding technology was the
limiting factor in determining the size of early spectacles. Limited technology,
coupled with the size
of the average person in the mid-1800's combined to give people who wore spectacles an appearance
indicative of that period; a defining frame-to-face
ratio. Today we are physically larger than we were
in the 1800's and original period spectacles are just too small for most of us.
A good rule of thumb for spectacle
size is approximately two-thirds the width of the
face, eyes centered horizontally in the lens portion of the
spectacles. As we are physically larger today than in
the past, spectacle sizes can
be increased to comfortably fit the wearer, while
maintaining the approximate frame-to-face ratio
of the past.
Original straight bow mid-19th Century Eyewear with case.