Opera Glasses, Folding

When closed, this ingenious device appears as a simple tube covered with dark leather. When opened it is a binocular instrument. The “BTE SGDG” inscription on the focusing knob indicates that it is based on a French patent. The objective lenses are 29 mm diameter. The frame is nickel plated.
John Browning in London described an instrument of this sort as a “Portable Binocular.” McAllister in Philadelphia described it as an “Articulated Pocket Opera Glass.”
Ref: John Browning ad in Nature 20 (May 1, 1879): title page.
William Y. McAllister, Illustrated Catalogue of Spectacles, Opera Glasses, Opthalmoscopes and Meteorological Instruments (Philadelphia, 1882), p. 49.
Currently not on view
Object Name
opera glasses, folding
date made
19th century
overall: 4 1/2 in; 11.43 cm
place made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Jane and Mary Henle
Additional Media

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