SPEAK SOFTLY AND CARRY A BASTONI

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This French Louis XV brass telescope
from the 18th century features intricate
scrollwork engraved on the handle.
Two dust covers on the terminals slide
to free the lens and eyepiece.
This early 19th-century, French-manufactured
stick has a pivoting cap on top of the
silver knob, where a small telescope
was attached to a tie-rod.
This mid-19th century stick with an engraved
brass handle has rectangular lenses that
can be inserted inside the case-grip. This type of stick became popular in the 18th century and
were used until the early 20th century.

As walking sticks, or “bastoni” in Italian, became a fashion accessory in the 18th century, many of them also served another purpose. Small lorgnettes and telescopes-and in many cases, both-could be easily concealed inside the handle. By the 19th century, bastoni with glasses and telescopes were mass-produced, making them readily available objects of curiosity and fun. Courtesy of the Museo dell’Occhiale, www.museodellocchiale.it.

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