LOOKING BACK – FEBRUARY 2012

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ADAMS SPECTACLES USES ITS HEAD

In 1797, English optician Dudley Adams was granted a patent for his novel spectacles that featured a near complete headband and folding, adjustable drop-down lenses. Known as Adams Spectacles, they were designed by Adams to relieve the temples and nose from pressure. They also provided several adjustments to the lens holders with the ability to be raised or lowered, rotated, and their separation varied, allowing suitable variation for any wearer. The patent (a page shown at left) included 42 figures showing, among other details, nine eyerim shapes and 15 styles of spectacle temples. In his patent, Adams also suggested his spectacles could be used as goggles to defend against dust and wind and could even be used in the treatment of strabismus if glazed with black discus and central holes. However, the chances of Adams Spectacles being used as goggles are unlikely because of the small area of protection it provided. In addition, it’s doubtful that such treatment for strabismus was ever effective without full correction of any error of refraction. In fact, it’s unlikely that a large number of Adams Spectacles were manufactured so they’re considered a rare style of eyeglass today.

Courtesy of David A. Fleishman, MD, and antiquespectacles.com.
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