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Rare Victorian steel oval frame fitted with original Franklin split bifocal lenses - collectors item - Vintage Glasses - Dead Men's Spex

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Rare Victorian steel oval frame fitted with original Franklin split bifocal lenses - collectors item

Availability: In stock

£75.00
OR
A delightful Victorian frame.

Victorian oval eye frame. Original period frame.

Steel mount with cranked "w" bridge and straight sides.

What makes these rare and unusual is they are fitted with original Franklin split bifocals - Clear non-prescription top lens +2.00 reading lens.

 

Benjamin Franklin is generally credited with the invention of bifocals. Historians have produced some evidence to suggest that others may have come before him in the invention; however, a correspondence between George Whatley and John Fenno, editor of The Gazette of the United States, suggested that Franklin had indeed invented bifocals, and perhaps 50 years earlier than had been originally thought. However the College of Optometrists concluded:

Unless further evidence emerges all we can say for certain is that Franklin was one of the first people to wear split bifocals and this act of wearing them caused his name to be associated with the type from an early date. This no doubt contributed greatly to their popularisation. The evidence implies, however, that when he sought to order lenses of this type the London opticians were already familiar with them. Other members of Franklin's circle of British friends may have worn them even earlier, from the 1760s, but it is at best uncertain (and arguably improbable?) that split bifocal lenses had a famous gentleman inventor. 

Original bifocals were designed with the most convex lenses (for close viewing) in the lower half of the frame and the least convex lenses on the upper. Up until the beginning of the 20th century two separate lenses were cut in half and combined together in the rim of the frame. The mounting of two half lenses into a single frame led to a number of early complications and rendered such spectacles quite fragile.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bifocals


Additional Information

Model Oval eye
Colour Nickel
Condition Very Good+ : solid, clean and re-polished : looks barely worn
Size 35x24 (small)
Eyepiece 35mm x 26mm
Bridge 24mm
Temple to Temple (between front joints) 108mm (sides are 130mm long)

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