Cover image for Eyeglass retrospective : where fashion meets science
Eyeglass retrospective : where fashion meets science
Schiffer, Nancy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Atglen, PA : Schiffer, [2000]

Physical Description:
192 pages : color illustrations ; 23 x 29 cm.
General Note:
"With price guide"--Cover.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GT2370 .S35 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



This book provides an overview for identifying and dating vintage eyewear for the growing numbers of collectors. Explore ways in which eyeglass design has developed to reflect both popular fashion and scientific investigation.The designs of frames and lenses were changed as more comfortable and practical styles were invented. In the mid-twentieth century, eyeglass makers carefully sought high profile entertainers to wear their designs in order to promote their companies. Advertising worked its magic and the general public came to prefer the advertised designs. Examples of eyewear from the sevententh century to the present are shown in over 600 color photos and explained in an engaging text. Bifocals, monocles, pince-nez, fanciful and safety styles of eyeglasses and sunglasses are shown along with some price estimates.

Author Notes

Nancy N. Schiffer is fascinated with objects that reflect their cultural background. Her focus on eyewear here follows previous studies of popular arts including furniture, ceramics, and jewelry.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Following previous studies of popular arts in Schiffer's line of "Books for Designers and Collectors," this volume offers an overview of identifying, dating, and pricing period eyeware, ranging from the 1700 Nuremberg Magnifiers to the 1990s. Schiffer stresses necessity, fashion, scientific advances, and comfort, displaying examples of seemingly endless varieties of eye aids or ware on hooked handles, or hinged, and made of gold, wood, silver, bone, leather, or plastic. There are folding glasses, lorgnettes, monocles, opera glasses, four-framed glasses that snapped to offer different lenses, and the advent of colored glasses around 1800. Of special note is a chapter on the McAllister family of Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore, who made glasses from 1799 to 1971. Though changes in vision correction now include surgery and contact lenses, the personal eyeglass is still very much with us, and this unique history should prove of interest to many besides designers and collectors. Though it emphasizes designs for women, this work is still a fine general overview with no real competing works. Recommended for public libraries.DJoseph Hewgley, Nashville P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.