Opera Glasses

Each eyecup of this small instrument is marked “LEMAIRE FABT * PARIS *.” The objective lenses are 30 mm diameter and the optics are good. The frame is black metal. The barrels are covered with black leather. A center wheel adjusts the focus. The small image of a bee on the central brace is the Lemaire trade mark. The carrying case is black leather with a red silk lining.
If this was made for the American market, the words “MADE IN / FRANCE” on the central brace indicate a date after the McKinley Tariff went into effect on March 1, 1891. If it was made for the British market, the words indicate a date after the British Merchandise Marks Act of 1887.
Jacques Lemaire began making opera glasses in 1847 and was soon a major manufacturer noted for using mechanization, division of labor and interchangeable parts. M.J.B. Baille joined the firm in 1871 and took charge of it in 1885.
Ref: Nicholas Gilman, A Dividend to Labor: A Study of Employers’ Welfare Institutions (Boston and New York, 1899), pp. 297–304.
Currently not on view
Object Name
opera glasses
date made
ca 1900
closed: 1 11/16 in x 4 1/8 in x 2 1/2 in; 4.2926 cm x 10.4902 cm x 6.35 cm
place made
France: Île-de-France, Paris
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

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