Nachet Opera Glasses

This is a small and light-weight instrument with an aluminum frame, and dark leather on the barrels. The center focus and eyecups are black, possibly celluloid. The objective lenses are 20 mm diameter. The length is 3.4 cm closed. The left eyecup is marked “NACHET / OPTICIEN.” The right one is marked “10 RUE DE LA PAIX / PARIS.” The cross brace at the objective end is marked “C. J. MYERS.”
Aluminum opera glasses could be had from high-end dealers by 1860. This example came to the Smithsonian in 1922, in the large bequest of Cassie Mason Myers Julian James. They probably belonged to her mother, Catalina Juliana Mason Myers (1824-1905), a wealthy woman who visited Paris in the 1860s.
The Nachet signature refers Camille Joseph Nachet (1839-1929), an optician who showed telemeters at international exhibition of 1889, and who received a patent for a stereo-chromoscope in 1894. His father Camille Sebastien Nachet, and his brother Jean Alfred Nachet, were famous microscope makers.
Date: second half of nineteenth century
Currently not on view
Object Name
opera glasses
Object Type
opera glasses
date made
Physical Description
fabric (cord material)
glass (objective lense material)
leather (barrel material)
metal (rims material)
metal (bridge material)
metal (frame material)
glass (eyepiece material)
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Clothing & Accessories
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Costume
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Bequest of Mrs. Julian James

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