NAPOLEON SCISSORHANDS

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Although first produced in Germany around 1750 by optician S.M. Hoffman, and then later in London when optician George Adams took out a patent on them in 1780, scissor spectacles became a popular accessory notably used by Napoleon Bonaparte to correct his myopia. His brother Jerome (who became King of Westphalia) owned a pair in ducat gold. Hung around the neck by a chain or cord and mounted on scissoring stems rather than temples, scissor spectacles could be used for either near or distance viewing. They were intended to be held from below, making it necessary to place the hand over the lower part of the face— the precursor to side-held hand frames. Later on, scissor spectacles, which were still sold in 1900, had no handle and were meant to be held by the pivot, with some having a suspension ring so they could still be worn around the neck. Courtesy of the British Optical Association Museum at the College of Optometrists, College-Optometrists.org.

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