In the event of a government shutdown, American History will remain OPEN through at least Saturday, October 7, by using prior year funds. Visit for updates.



<< >>
Usage conditions apply
These silver-framed eyeglasses with round lenses are know as Martin's Margins. They were invented by Benjamin Martin (1704–1782), an instrument maker from London, England. The dark rims were supposed to protect wearers from excessive light and improve their vision. This pair probably dates from the second half of the eighteenth century. Most Martin's Margins frames are made from steel or silver and have either horn or tortoiseshell rims.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Other Terms
spectacles; Eyeglasses
date made
Physical Description
silver (frame material)
glass (lenses material)
horn (inner rims material)
extended: 3.3 cm x 10.6 cm x 8.7 cm; 1 5/16 in x 4 3/16 in x 3 7/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Dache M. Reeves
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Clothing & Accessories
Artifact Walls exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Note: Comment submission is temporarily unavailable while we make improvements to the site. We apologize for the interruption. If you have a question relating to the museum's collections, please first check our Collections FAQ. If you require a personal response, please use our Contact page.