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LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Riveting Spectacles

Henry Petroski’s column “The Evolution of Eyeglasses” was quite informative, yet I wish to point out an error. The “reconstructed medieval spectacles” shown on the first page are incorrect. No known examples of rivet spectacles frames with “a length of string” or even holes for those strings exist. The string and holes first appeared in Spanish nose spectacles circa 1600. Photographs of the earliest known rivet spectacles can be viewed here: http://www.antiquespectacles.com/rivet_spectacles/rivets.htm.

My friends Vincent Ilardi (deceased) and Chuck Letocha, whose work was cited in the column, have been contributors to the www.antiquespectacles.com project. International research evolved into this unique comprehensive online museum and encyclopedia related to the more than 700-year history of vision aids. More than 850 institutions are represented so far on over 360 web pages, which include almost 7,000 images. All sorts of historic optical treasures in storage are now coming to light.

David A. Fleishman, M.D.
Boston, MA



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