Bow folding spectacles, England, 1650-1750

1650-1750 in England

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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.

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National Science and Media Museum: Gallery One

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Object Number:
glass, horn, steel
folded: 6 mm x 41 mm x 58 mm,
spectacles ophthalmology (aids), bows, folding, ophthalmology (aids), spectacles
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • eyeglass
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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