6 Other Types of Eyeglasses

1. Pince-nez

When you see a pair of pince-nez, which, in French, literally means "to pinch the nose," you probably think of President Teddy Roosevelt. He was famous for wearing a C-bridge type of pince-nez. However, pince-nez first appeared in Europe in the 15th century. But they didn't become fashionable in the U.S. until the end of the 19th century and were already waning in popularity by the time Teddy Roosevelt became president. Pince-nez were worn by both men and women, but the ones made for women were usually rimless and suspended on fine gold chains. Pince-nez came in three main styles: hard bridge, C-bridge, and spring bridge, which were considered "sporty." The hard bridge, which had to be fitted to the width of your nose, were actually used through the 1950s.

2. Monocle

Although the monocle was used as far back as 1720 by antiques connoisseur Philipp Von Stosch to examine treasures, the simplest form of monocles were not found in England until the 1830s. These consisted of a corrective lens in a wire frame, but were improved in the 1890s by adding a raised "gallery" which held the lens slightly off the eye to keep eyelashes from knocking against it. The final improvement came in the early 20th century when frameless monocles were custom fit to the shape of an individual eye. Although monocles are most often associated with the upper crust, gentlemen in the 19th century and upper-class German officers during World War I, Vision Express Eyewear in England debuted a new line of monocles at the end of 2009 in its London shops. The retailer says that it had many requests for monocles—yes, fashion is a circular as, well, as a monocle.

3. Quizzing glasses

Quizzing glasses, or quizzers as they're sometimes called, are similar to monocles, however, you hold them up to your eye by a handle, much like opera glasses (see No. 6). The lenses came in three variety of shapes: round, oval, or oblong. Quizzers, like other early eyeglasses, were often elaborate and intricate. The outer rims were often faceted, pinkbeck, decorated with turqoise, or even encrusted with diamonds. The loop, which attached to a chain so that you wouldn't lose the glasses, were works of art as well. Some interesting examples of loop designs include a dolphin swallowing its own head, a Roman harp, and back-to-back Chinese dragons.

4. Scissor-glasses

Scissor-glasses, or binocles-ciseaux in French, originated around the second half of the 18th century. They were primarily used to correct distance vision and were invented to replaced the single lens quizzing glasses, which were believed to tire the eye. Scissor-glasses were often very ornate, yet delicate, made of gold or vermeil with precious stones. Consisting of two arms on a fixed base, the glasses usually had a loop on the bottom so that they could be worn around the neck on a ribbon or gold chain. In post-revolutionary France these were an important and tres chic accessory. George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette and Napoleon were all known to have used binocles-ciseaux.

5. Lorgnette

The lorgnette is believed to have developed from the scissor glasses by an Englishman named George Adams. With two lenses on a lateral handle, it quickly became popular with fashionable ladies in the 18th century and continued to be popular through the end of the 19th century. The word lorgnette derives from the Middle French word lorgne. which means "to squint." These glasses were, like scissor glasses, considered more jewelry than corrective eye-wear. The lorgnette was also a popular accessory for masquerade balls. This design led to modern opera glasses.

6. Opera glasses

An adaptation of the lorgnette, opera glasses also used a handle to hold the glasses in front of the eyes. Also known as "theatre binoculars" or Galilean binoculars, opera glasses differ from binoculars as they are more compact, and are able to focus easily indoors and at short distances. Opera glasses became popular in the 1820s when theater owners wanted to give patrons in cheaper seats the same advantage of front row seats. Although, they were more often used to scope out other operagoers than watch the performance. You may recall that President Lincoln had a pair of these on him at the Ford theater that fated night. They are estimated to be worth around $4.25 million! Like the opera itself, the opera glasses are most often elegant, intricate, and elaborate.

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Matthew Stockman, Getty Images
Why Do Wimbledon Players Wear All White?
Matthew Stockman, Getty Images
Matthew Stockman, Getty Images

by James Hunt

Wimbledon's dress code is one of the most famous in sports. The rules, which specify that players must dress "almost entirely in white," are so strict that the referee can force players to change under threat of disqualification. In the past, many of the sport's top players have found themselves on the wrong end of this rule—but where did it come from?

It's believed that the rule stems from the 1800s, when tennis was a genteel sport played primarily at social gatherings, particularly by women. The sight of sweaty patches on colored clothing was considered to be inappropriate, so the practice of wearing predominantly white clothing—a.k.a. tennis whites—was adopted to avoid embarrassment. The All England Club, which hosts Wimbledon, was founded in 1868 (initially as the All England Croquet Club) and introduced Lawn Tennis in 1875.

Quite simply, the club is just a stickler for tradition. Recently issued guidelines for clothing include statements such as "White does not include off-white or cream," that colored trim can be "no wider than one centimeter," and that "undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration)" are not allowed. That's right: even players' underwear has to be white.

The rules have rubbed many famous tennis players the wrong way. In 2013, former Wimbledon champion Roger Federer was told not to wear his orange-soled trainers after they were judged to have broken The All England Club's dress code. In 2002, Anna Kournikova was forced to replace her black shorts with a pair of white ones borrowed from her coach. And Andre Agassi refused to play at Wimbledon in the earlier years of his career because his signature denim shorts and garish tops were banned.

The all-white clothing rule isn't the only piece of baggage that accompanies Wimbledon's long history. It's the only Grand Slam tournament that's still played on a grass court, and the only one that schedules a day off on the middle Sunday of the tournament.

However, the club is not immune to change. In 2003 a long-standing tradition of requiring players to bow or curtsey to the Royal Box on the Centre Court was discontinued by the Duke of Kent (who also happens to be The All England Club's president) who deemed it anachronistic—though the requirement does stand if the Queen or Prince of Wales is in attendance—and in 2007 the prizes for the men's and women's tournaments were made equal. The all-white clothing rule may be annoying for players, but at least the club has shown it can change with the times in the areas where it really matters.

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An Eco-Friendly Startup Is Converting Banana Peels Into Fabric for Clothes
iStock
iStock

A new startup has found a unique way to tackle pollution while simultaneously supporting sustainable fashion. Circular Systems, a “clean-tech new materials company,” is transforming banana byproducts, pineapple leaves, sugarcane bark, and flax and hemp stalk into natural fabrics, according to Fast Company.

These five crops alone meet more than twice the global demand for fibers, and the conversion process provides farmers with an additional revenue stream, according to the company’s website. Fashion brands like H&M and Levi’s are already in talks with Circular Systems to incorporate some of these sustainable fibers into their clothes.

Additionally, Circular Systems recycles used clothing to make new fibers, and another technology called Orbital spins those textile scraps and crop byproducts together to create a durable type of yarn.

People eat about 100 billion bananas per year globally, resulting in 270 million tons of discarded peels. (Americans alone consume 3.2 billion pounds of bananas annually.) Although peels are biodegradable, they emit methane—a greenhouse gas—during decomposition. Crop burning, on the other hand, is even worse because it causes significant air pollution.

As Fast Company points out, using leaves and bark to create clothing may seem pretty groundbreaking, but 97 percent of the fibers used in clothes in 1960 were natural. Today, that figure is only 35 percent.

However, Circular Systems has joined a growing number of fashion brands and textile companies that are seeking out sustainable alternatives. Gucci has started incorporating a biodegradable material into some of its sunglasses, Bolt Threads invented a material made from mushroom filaments, and pineapple “leather” has been around for a couple of years now.

[h/t Fast Company]

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