Opera Glasses

Opera Glasses

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The mother of pearl eyecups are marked “LEMAIRE FABT * PARIS *.” The objective lenses are 30 mm diameter and the optics are good. The frame is aluminum. The barrels are covered with dark brown leather. The center wheel that adjusts the focus is black metal. A small image of a bee, the Lemaire logo, appears on the central brace. The number “609829” appears on the eye end brace. The carrying case is black leather with a red silk lining; the gold lettering in the cap reads, in part, “24 Palais Royal, PARIS.”
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 in 1885.
Ref: William Y. McAllister, Illustrated Catalogue of Spectacles, Opera Glasses, Opthalmoscopes and Meteorological Instruments (Philadelphia, 1882), p. 51.
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
place made
France: Île-de-France, Paris
closed: 4 5/16 in x 4 1/16 in x 2 9/16 in; 10.922 cm x 10.3124 cm x 6.5024 cm
overall in case: 3 5/16 in x 4 3/4 in x 2 1/4 in; 8.41375 cm x 12.065 cm x 5.715 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Jane and Mary Henle
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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