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hanktrent
07-14-2010, 09:02 PM
By request of a moderator, related to this post (http://www.cwreenactors.com/forum/showpost.php?p=158415&postcount=14), here's a thread on blue-tinted spectacles, or spectacles in general if y'all want to add general stuff.

If you saw a reenactor in blue spectacles, and you both lived in the 1860s, you might have a stereotypical prejudice about the person. But it wouldn't have anything to do with syphilis. Just the opposite actually.

From a post I made a couple years ago on the AC forum, in response to someone who wondered if author Sarah Parton disliked a woman in tinted glasses because she might have syphilis:


When tinted lenses are mentioned in the period, the assumption is that the wearer has weak eyes that are especially sensitive to light, but the connotation is that the wearer is (to mix period and modern terms, and positive and negative connotations) bookish, uptight, preachy, spinsterish, nerdy, scholarly, studious, the ivory-tower or Mrs. Grundy or "strong-minded women's rights" sort.

I'd guess that Sarah Parton disliked women in tinted lenses not because she suspected them of having syphilis, but just the opposite--they'd be uptight and spinsterish. Now I'm curious to see what she says in context!

So unlike modern sunglasses, worn by just about everyone and with a sporty, outdoorsy or intimidating connotation, tinted lenses in the period would be worn more for a specific condition and/or for a scholarly or preacherly fashion statement.

Just looked for a Parton (Fanny Fern) reference, and couldn't find women wearing them, but here's a perfect example of a man: "...peering over his green spectacles, [he] remarked: 'Our paper, madam, is most em-phat-i-cal-ly a paper devoted to the interests of religion; no frivolous jests, no love-sick ditties, no fashionable sentimentalism, finds a place in its columns. This is a serious world, madam..." (from Ruth Hall by Fanny Fern)

From another post I made:

Honestly, I don't recall seeing anyone in dark glasses at an event in a long time, or if they were, nobody including me noticed because it fit right in with their portrayal.

But, yes, many years ago, and also in online conversations, the usual thing seems to be that others used the syphilis thing to ridicule reenactors who wear tinted lenses, as a peer-pressure way of getting them to quit, because they were supposed to be farby and/or a sign of depravity.

Sigh. The blind leading the blind, no pun intended. http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif That's wrong no several levels because 1) Tinted lenses are period and 2) they've got nothing to do with syphilis and 3) yes, someone in tinted lenses who wasn't hopelessly disabled might endure a bit of ridicule in the period, but for looking like a nerd, not a sexual libertine.

If anyone wants to make the case that tinted glasses were connected in some people's minds with syphilis in the period, here's the chance! I'd like to see the documentation, because I sure can't find it!

Here's a research dump courtesy of Linda Trent:
Scientific American, 1857 "To weakness of the eyes:'We should judge that, as you suggest, blue spectacles would convert the yellow rays of artificial light into a green tint, more agreeable and less irritating to weak or sore eyes...'"

I just took a look at the section on Venereal Disease in Dr. Gunn, 1861, and surprisingly enough he doesn't even mention weak-eyes as a symptom or a problem with either syphilis, or gonorrhea. The same with Dr. Imray's Popular Cyclopedia of Modern Domestic Medicine, 1850.

Evening at Newport. Harper's New Monthly Magazine. July 1855, p. 230 at a fashionable watering-place a gentleman at the hop there was described as wearing blue spectacles and was talking about the "frivolity of society," he considers "a little amusement as superfluous." It goes on to say, "He stands aside at balls, and, not having an ear for music, sneers at dancing, is a lawyer, and devotes his days to searching title-deeds and prosecuting claims."

Out-doors at Idlewild, N. P. Willis, New York, C. Scribner, 1855 p. 296 "Without the refuge of blue spectacles, the dazzling glare of the sunshine on the snow would make prisoners of the weak-eyed classes in sleighing time, ..."

Akin by Marriage. The Atlantic Monthly, Jan. 1858 a young lady and her sister (the latter pushing her younger sister to marry a gentleman). The younger sister says, "I don't like him, and think he's so disagreeable,--and oh yes! there's another thing,--he wears blue spectacles,--ugh! blue spectacles!" Her older sister says, "Well, I'll agree that a pale, studious face and blue spectacles are good reasons for hating a man. Now let me say a word or two in his favor, notwithstanding, and also in favor of a plan with I had supposed was agreed upon... [she went on to ask] if Mr. Hunt was not good and pious, and of blameless life and reputation; extorting from Laura an affirmative reply to each seperate inquiry." The article again continues by saying, "such a good offer, especially to one in your circumstances, from such a worthy, talented, pious young clergyman, whose preference [names of ladies], with their thousands would be glad to win... I do say, Laura, that you ought to give better reasons for refusing him, nay, for jilting him, after a two-years' engagement, than that his cheeks are pale and his spectacles blue."

Why would someone encourage her sister to marry a man and say that his "pale, studious face and blue spectacles" are not good enough reasons to reject a man, if they were well known to be worn by people with a VD?

Military dictionary, Henry Lee Scott New York, D. Van Nostrand, 1861, p. 412
Snow-blindness.--In civilized life blue spectacles are, as is well known, an indispensable accompaniement to snow-mountain expeditions. The Esquimaux adopt the following equivalent: They cut a piece of soft wood to the curvature of the face. It is about two inches thick, and extends horizontally quite across both eyes, and rests on the nose, where a notch is cut to act in the same way as the bridge of a pair of spectacles...

Mr. Martin's Disappointments. The Atlantic Monthly. Sept. 1863 p. 282
"A large fortune is left to my hero, who forthwith becomes enamored of a fair damsel; but fearful lest the beloved object should worship his money more than his merits, he disguises himself in a wig and blue spectacles, becomes tutor to her brother, and wins her affections while playing pedagogue."


A lady writing a play chose for her hero to wear blue spectacles and pretend to be a tutor to her brother in order to win her love without letting on that he had money. Why would a wealthy man go through so much trouble to wear a symbol of a VD if he wanted to win a fair lady's hand?

Gallipolis [Ohio] Journal (newspaper) I was just going through some old advertisements from our local (1863) paper and found an ad for a very nice jewelry store here in town. Among the things they were selling include: All kinds of watches, alarm clocks, silver and plated spoons, gold and plated lockets, fancy hair pins, and yes, colored spectacles

Granted it doesn't state the colors, but somehow after my previous readings I can't help but to wonder if this isn't where those studious people would have gotten their glasses

John King, The Causes, symptoms, diagnosis, pathology, and treatment of
chronic diseases, Cincinnati, Moore, Wilstach & Baldwin, 1867
Mentions cobalt blue lenses for both sclerotico-choroiditis posterior and glaucoma. P. 1481 and 1487. But I have yet to see them mentioned specifically for VD. Though they are constantly recommended for people with weak-eyes.

The Surgeon's Story. Appletons' Journal, Nov. 18, 1871, p. 570
"In the carriage... a tall old man in blue spectacles, who seemed to be a writing teacher."

Matthew Brady, the famous CW-era photographer was another example of a man who wore blue spectacles due to light sensitivity. So yes, definately, upstanding citizens of mid and late 19th century communities also wore blue spectacles :-)

The Mimic World, Philadelphia, Pa., Cincinnati, O. New-world Publishing
Company; 1871.
"In a frantic manner he sprang to his feet and executed a 'forward two' in true Parisian style, and with such utter abandon that a mild old lady knitting socks with a pair of blue spectacles--I mean, knitting spectacles with a pair of blue socks--well, at all events, evidently under an impression that this soldier was going mad very suddenly, she uttered a terrific shriek and bolted."

Heinrich Goullon, Scrofulous Affections and the Advantages of their
Treatment... Homeopathy. New York, Philadelphia : Boericke & Tafel, 1872.Alright, that one's a little too technical and has tons of Latin letters that my keyboard won't type, but again, the blue lenses are for a specific eye disease, and not for an STD.

Henry Clay Angell, MD, A Treatise on Diseases of the Eye, Boston: James Campbell, 1873. writes "Eye protectors made of curved blue glass are the best [Eye Protectors]. Goggles with wire, silk, or glass sides keep the eye, as a general rule, too close and warm. For photophobia, simple blue spectacles of plain glass are generally sufficient, and may be darker or lighter in shade, according to the amount of protection required. Brown or smoke-colored glasses may be used, if preferred. The latter cut off all the rays of light, and consequently render vision somewhat less distinct, while blue glasses, excluding the orange rays only, interfere les with the clear definition of objects. Green glasses protect the eye from the red rays alone; but it is the orange rays which are most intolerable to a sensitive retina.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@gmail.com

Rob Weaver
07-15-2010, 06:30 AM
IIRC - Poe's detective August Dupin wears green glasses in "The Murders in the Rue Morgue."

Silas
07-15-2010, 02:48 PM
Research is killing all the fun in this hobby.

harley_davis
07-15-2010, 03:52 PM
The actual use of the blue tinted glasses had a good deal to do with an individuals chosen profession as well. This short blurb will lead the researcher in the proper direction.
http://www.oldwestantiques.biz/page19.php
It is true that some tinted lenses appear to have been used for certain eye conditions. In the early 1870's for instancance, JB Hickok was documented wearing tinted lens in Kansas City. Although his exact eye condition is not documented, some indications are that he suffered from traucoma which is spread from individuals infected with chlamydia. Hickok claimed it was from an explosion of a spotlight during his breif time as an actor with Buffalo Bills stage show and other times, said it was due to his long hours on the plains during his scouting days. Neither of those claims have much validity however.

Heres another misconception, the term "hippies" and coincidentally, small sunglasses, is not original to the 1960's but goes as far back as just after ACW, perhaps further back as well. In the days of opium smoking, the smoker would spend hours laying on his side and/or his hip, smoking the pipe. After leaving the opium den the bright light would be bothersome to the eyes and those individuals took to the wearing of small tinted lens and the wearer was then easily identified as a "rounder" or "hippie"!!! Because of so many negative connections to tinted glasses, one would wonder how common they would be in polite society circles.
Respectfully,

hanktrent
07-15-2010, 04:32 PM
Because of so many negative connections to tinted glasses, one would wonder how common they would be in polite society circles.

Please give a period, primary-source example of a negative connotation to wearing tinted glasses, other than the ones I mentioned (being considered bookish, straight-laced, overly intellectual, etc.).

For example, do you have a primary source that indicates someone assumed a person with tinted glasses was an opium smoker, had a venereal disease, etc., or that a person was hesitant to wear them for fear of being accused of those things?

That's exactly the undocumented assumption I'm trying to point out has no evidence. If you can provide evidence, please share it. If a person had weak eyes due to a venereal disease, he'd certainly wear tinted glasses for them, but just like today, if a person needed antibiotics for a venereal disease he'd take them, but we don't assume every person taking antibiotics has a venereal disease, since there are so many other uses.

The "luminous readers" ad is pretty interesting. Google "luminous readers" and apparently, they're still sold and used with that exact same name and technique today. And yet, till this moment, I never would have associated someone wearing sunglasses with cheating at cards. How widespread was that knowledge in the 1860s, outside of gambling circles?

Hank Trent
hanktrent@gmail.com

harley_davis
07-15-2010, 05:33 PM
How widespread was that knowledge in the 1860s, outside of gambling circles?

Hank Trent
hanktrent@gmail.com
Point taken sir. It may have been relatively unknown outside the gambling world, I stand corrected there. In towns where gambling had a good deal of prominence, it would have been understood. In better society, probably not so much. As to first hand accounts of a "less than high regard" of the wearing of tinted eyeglasses, I need to get into my books since I cannot quote them verbatum & source at this point. Allow me, if you would, a couple of days of digging.
Respectfully,

hanktrent
07-15-2010, 05:49 PM
Point taken sir. It may have been relatively unknown outside the gambling world, I stand corrected there. As to first hand accounts of a "less than high regard" of the wearing of tinted eyeglasses, I need to get into my books since I cannot quote them verbatum & source at this point. Allow me, if you would, a couple of days of digging.
Respectfully,

Sure. This is a topic I'm curious about, because everybody says (well, not everybody, but you know...) that tinted lenses were connected to venereal diseases in the 19th century, yet I've never seen an actual period example of it. So I hope you'll post what you have!

I do think the luminous readers are a cool piece of trivia, and it makes me wonder more about when exactly they were developed, and if a reenactor has tried to actually use that in a card game in an appropriate historic situation. Hmm... we were all losing pretty bad to one fellow a few weeks ago... but no, I don't recall that he was wearing glasses. :cool:

Hank Trent
hanktrent@gmail.com

harley_davis
07-15-2010, 06:22 PM
Sure. This is a topic I'm curious about, because everybody says (well, not everybody, but you know...) that tinted lenses were connected to venereal diseases in the 19th century, yet I've never seen an actual period example of it.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@gmail.com
Exactly. Even Hickok's supposed case of traucoma brought about by contact with chlamydia is not proveable. He was apparantly treated by a military doctor but to date, the records have not be found. I doubt I have any documention of connection to veneral deases. The negative connotations I mentioned would be more connected to drug use. I just gotta remember where I read the "hippie" connection. Old brain, hard to place the exact source but I will dig.
Respectfully,

Pvt Schnapps
07-15-2010, 08:29 PM
I have a pair almost exactly like Robert E. Lee's: http://www.antiquespectacles.com/people/people_present2.htm I also have a pair like the one tentatively attributed to Jackson on the same page.

If you're going to annoy someone for wearing tinted spectacles, annoy them for being a snobby clerk. Syphilis has nothing to do with it in our period.

hanktrent
07-15-2010, 08:33 PM
The negative connotations I mentioned would be more connected to drug use. I just gotta remember where I read the "hippie" connection. Old brain, hard to place the exact source but I will dig.
Respectfully,

I just googled opium hippy, and here's apparently the source:

http://victoriansupremacy.blogspot.com/2008/11/hippie-origins.html



So, I was reading Soiled Doves: Prostitution in the Early West by Anne Seagraves, and she mentioned that when one would go to an opium den to smoke, since, in most dens, there was a lack of furniture, one would have to smoke their opium leaning on one hip... like so: [picture doesn't show up for me, but we've all seen images of lounging opium smokers, so I can imagine it]
Seagraves mentions that this is perhaps where the word "hippies" came from.. but.... after some thought and some wiki searching, Hippies come from the 70's.


The blog author is wrong too; it was older than that (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippie_(etymology)), though not by much.

This book (http://books.google.com/books?id=A8XvoWmsSdYC&pg=PA2&dq=hip+opium&output=html&cd=3) has a weaker link, claiming that "are you hip?" came from opium smoking in the 1920s and 30s. This book (http://books.google.com/books?id=kHRyZEQ5rC4C&pg=PA86&dq=hip+opium&output=html&cd=7)says an experienced opium smoker in the 19th century was called a hip, due to a sore hip from lying so much.

The lack of footnotes is obvious; these are the kind of sources I'd immediately distrust, as far as having the kind of precision reenactors need to portray a fairly narrow time period and various specific social classes.

But it's possible there were certain social classes or geographical areas where tinted lenses had some connotation different from the numerous primary sources available. If so, I'm curious to see the evidence.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@gmail.com

harley_davis
07-15-2010, 10:15 PM
Mr. Trent,
Those are indeed, the sources I had read. As you state, the obvious lack of actual documentation does, indeed, make it suspect. I bow to your point. Still, it remains a possibility I suppose but in making statements of fact, does not hold the sway I had believed. I believe we are all in agreement that the common belief of tinted glasses indicating a connection to syphllis is false. Tinted glasses were more common that most persons believe which is the point of the original post. I also have a pair similar to RE Lee's however, mine are oblong/squarish and small lens. I wear them in my Hickok portrayls but not when portraying a soldier. Some great points were brought out in this thread, I appreciate the chance to learn from my peers.
Respectfully,

Culpeper
07-16-2010, 08:12 AM
Mr. Schaffner,

Thank you for that link to the Antique Spectacles website. What a fantastic resource on this topic. To my chagrin I notice the total lack of around the ear, spring steel earpieces, but interestingly, spring steel type nez pince spectacles and even a nifty pair of folding-bridge glasses worn by President Lincoln.

I would add, though, as a Virginian, that if the VMI Museum has a pair of blue tinted spectacles owned by Robert E. Lee, that this would be the summary execution of the notion that tinted glasses are a sign of a "social disease" and, quite to the contrary, tinted glasses must have been the accouterments of a gentleman of the highest caliber.

John Orr
Pvt., 44th Va, Co H
Longstreet's Corps

Pvt_McIntire
07-16-2010, 08:32 AM
Thank you all for this excellent research! As someone who wears period frames with blue tinted lenses (due to a light sensitivity issue with my eyes), I am tired of defending myself against the "VD" argument. It is very helpful to now have documentation to provide for those who hold this misconception.

Pvt Schnapps
07-16-2010, 10:46 AM
Blue spectacles show up in many period references; Linda Trent collected a number of these a few years ago, including the entry in Scott's Military Dictionary describing them as a well known antidote to snow blindness (under "medicine" I believe).

Here are a few others:

A passage that gets around to talking about the ingenuity of northern soldiers in the civil war begins with this vignette of Prussians in the invasion of France (http://books.google.com/books?id=5rQOAAAAIAAJ&dq=%22blue%20spectacles%22%20soldiers%20OR%20offic ers%20OR%20officer%20OR%20soldier%20OR%20prussian&pg=RA1-PA222#v=onepage&q=%22blue%20spectacles%22%20soldiers%20OR%20office rs%20OR%20officer%20OR%20soldier%20OR%20prussian&f=false):

"By way of illustrating the intelligence of the Prussian army in the Franco-Prussian war, many stories were circulated concerning the number of educated men in the ranks, and of the curious sight presented on a halt when numberless professors in the ranks adjusted their blue spectacles and, taking out their maps, unfolded them and determined what part of the enemy's country they were in."

An 1876 satirical view of the British Army in Punch has this (http://books.google.com/books?id=jWIPAQAAIAAJ&dq=%22blue%20spectacles%22%20soldiers%20OR%20offic ers%20OR%20officer%20OR%20soldier%20OR%20prussian&pg=PA57#v=onepage&q=%22blue%20spectacles%22%20soldiers%20OR%20office rs%20OR%20officer%20OR%20soldier%20OR%20prussian&f=false):

"Uniform For The Army.

"85, Fleet Street, Feb. 14, 1876.

"For General Officers.—In future respirators will be worn between the months of October and March. Wheel-chairs may be used instead of horses at Reviews when the Sovereign is not present. Crutches bound with an inch of gold lace (regulation pattern) may be taken to Levees. Ear-trumpets in future to be carried, hitched up on the left side under the sword-bolt.

"For Captains.—Wigs are to be worn under the shako in cases where the officers can count thirty years' service. White whiskers to be dyed garter-blue in Review order.

"For Subalterns.—In future, officers may bring their school-books, black boards, and globes on to parade. When the battalion is ordered to "stand at ease," officers will wear their blue spectacles over their eyes two inches above the eyebrows. The hair in future may be worn long (pattern, "German Professor"), and gloves can be dispensed with.

"For Privates.—In future, Soldiers taking part in a Review in heavy marching order, will be required to wear their pin-befores."

And here's something from G. A. Sala written during the war ("My Diary in America"), in which he expresses surprise at a character in blue spectacles, but not for the spectacles:

"My next [seat mate in a hack] was a clean-shaven gentleman, with a very high shirt collar, blue spectacles, an elaborately plaited frill, a broad-brimmed hat, and a long bottle-green surtout with brass buttons. He might have been a wealthy merchant or banker, or a gentleman of independent means. I bade him good morning, but he did not apparently hear my remark, and I did not care to 'argufy' with him. Perhaps he took me for a 'confidence man.' He had with him a market-basket, containing, as I live, a red cabbage, a quantity of oyster-plant, several eggs, and about a pound and a half of raw beefsteak. Why not? Why should not elderly gentlemen go to market at eight o'clock in the morning if they so choose? At all events, the sight Was novel and strange to me, and I put it down as another costumbre del pais. I have since been given to understand that the custom of gentlemen going to market, although still obtaining in some of the cities, particularly in Philadelphia, is not nearly so prevalent as it was a quarter of a century since, and that in New York at least it is, with frugality, simplicity, early hours, and other old-fashioned practices, fast dying out."

(As a side note, Secretary Stanton was one of those gentlemen who still did his own marketing, and is said to have pretty freely bantered with the vendors at the Central Market, some of whom had decidedly seccesh tendencies.)

harley_davis
07-16-2010, 12:04 PM
It is apparant due to this great research being posted that blue tinted glasses were more likely a mark of higher social standing rather than indicative of sickness, weakness or crookedness. Also shown are that blue tinted glasses are found in period literature for gamblers (ie:catalogs) to be used to "read" certain markings on cards. IMHO then, that if an individual or company was developing methods of cheating, that by using social acceptable blue tinted glasses, the sharpie would not be immediately suspect just for the wearing of such glasses. A way to use the social values of the day against the unsuspecting casual gambler. Not being an optomitrist or chemist, I can only theorize that it is more likely that the real reason for the blue glass had more to do with the type of chemical being used and its interaction with light & blue glass. Still an interesting potential side benefit.
Regards,

Rob Weaver
07-17-2010, 06:17 AM
It does seem that there's a connection between tinted glasses and at least white collar to upper class background. Would I be correct in making that connection?

harley_davis
07-17-2010, 11:45 AM
Rob
That is certainly the impression I have gotten as well from the research posted.
Regards,

Pvt Schnapps
07-17-2010, 12:40 PM
I find it hard to generalize. Here are a couple of catalogs for scientific and optical items from the period, one from 1848 and the other from 1859:

http://books.google.com/books?id=d5E5AAAAcAAJ&dq=glasses%20reading%20blue%20price&pg=PP2#v=onepage&q=glasses%20reading%20blue%20price&f=false

http://books.google.com/books?id=ynkIAAAAIAAJ&dq=glasses%20reading%20blue%20price&pg=PA157#v=onepage&q=glasses%20reading%20blue%20price&f=false

Just from the prices in these, it seems that the big determinant in the cost of spectacles or single glasses was the setting and craftsmanship. In 1849 you could get something that would help you read for as little as 63 cents (black horn round glass) or as much as ten or fifteen dollars (gold frames). Colored lenses seem to be available over most of the range.

In 1859 the price ranges are even broader, but quite a few spectacles are available for around a dollar.

These prices aren't negligible -- even 63 cents would probably feel like fifty to a hundred dollars to us. But if you need them they are affordable -- in 1860, even an unskilled laborer can make a dollar a day (Martin, "The Standard of Living in 1860" p. 411).

It doesn't seem that it would be the mere possession of glasses that would distinguish upper from lower class, but the number of glasses that someone would have and their quality. Blue spectacles might tend to be more of a white collar or upper class item, but more because of occupational need or because a person with more money could have more pairs of glasses anyway.

By the way, just to show us that we should never say never, the 1859 catalog contains an entry for: "Invisible Spectacles, with the frames set in the glasses, that they may not be seen. These Spectacles are particularly adapted to the comfort of near-sighted persons when riding on horse-back, as the sides are made with hooks passing behind the ears, thus preventing the Spectacles being jolted off the face. They are the lightest article ever made, per pair 2 50"

Yes, the dreaded "riding spectacles" that hook behind the ears predate the war.

harley_davis
07-17-2010, 01:54 PM
By the way, just to show us that we should never say never, the 1859 catalog contains an entry for: "Invisible Spectacles, with the frames set in the glasses, that they may not be seen. These Spectacles are particularly adapted to the comfort of near-sighted persons when riding on horse-back, as the sides are made with hooks passing behind the ears, thus preventing the Spectacles being jolted off the face. They are the lightest article ever made, per pair 2 50"

Yes, the dreaded "riding spectacles" that hook behind the ears predate the war.

Probably the best part to take from this thread, "never say never, always avoid always". For instance, I "always" knew the behind-the-ear glasses post-dated the CW. Clearly, even that is another of those incorrect assumptions.
REspectfully,

hanktrent
07-17-2010, 02:30 PM
It doesn't seem that it would be the mere possession of glasses that would distinguish upper from lower class, but the number of glasses that someone would have and their quality. Blue spectacles might tend to be more of a white collar or upper class item, but more because of occupational need or because a person with more money could have more pairs of glasses anyway.

I think that's true. Some more speculation:

A white-collar or upper class person might be less inconvenienced by wearing spectacles most of the time (less sweat, less physical movement at work, less chance of breaking them, etc.) and also might be more apt to pamper him or herself if he or she had marginally bad eyesight, while a laborer might just pull his hat a little lower and suck it up, rather than buy glasses that would just break or fall off or get too sweaty to see through.

There's also the issue of social pressure. A laborer with light-sensitivity might resist getting tinted lenses simply because he didn't want to look like the kind of person who would. I wear sunglasses in modern life, but not mirrored lenses, even though they're about as cheap and easily available, because I don't want to look like the kind of person who would wear them (bad cops, for example).

Also, in a lot of cases, we're not getting an actual random survey of who had tinted lenses in the past. Instead, we're getting anecdotal evidence, and whether a writer is writing fiction or relating a true incident, the mention of tinted lenses may be a short-hand way of summing up a mental picture for the reader that the person was one of those types. If the tinted lenses didn't fit with the cliche, there would be less point to mentioning it. A phrase like "A man wearing blue spectacles and a paper collar" paints a more vivid mental picture in a few words than "A man wearing a brown coat and gray trousers."

Hank Trent
hanktrent@gmail.com

Pvt Schnapps
07-17-2010, 08:30 PM
Yes, Hank. I'm pretty much getting the same impression.

More stuff coming online may change it, but that seems to be where we're at.

Here's a nice other twist that I enjoyed, a quotation from a military man about service in India that acknowledged both the practicality of blue spectacles, and their association with something very different ("A Weekly Journal of Medicine and Medical Affairs," 1873):

"Medical officers, and the soldiers themselves should work together. In addition to the oft-repeated directions, the experience of many leads to the suggestion that men should wear broad brimmed hats protecting the neck and temples, a long pad of felt down the spine, and ridiculous as it may read, blue spectacles to deaden the glare."

lincolnsguard
07-18-2010, 05:09 PM
If you keep posting all of this great research and documentation, this here forum is going to kersplode.

Thanks for all of the fine work. "Knowledge is power."


So, can a woman wear blue or red tinted glasses to a "family friendly" event?

dale beasley
07-23-2010, 11:28 PM
Please give a period, primary-source example of a negative connotation to wearing tinted glasses, other than the ones I mentioned (being considered bookish, straight-laced, overly intellectual, etc.).

For example, do you have a primary source that indicates someone assumed a person with tinted glasses was an opium smoker, had a venereal disease, etc., or that a person was hesitant to wear them for fear of being accused of those things?

That's exactly the undocumented assumption I'm trying to point out has no evidence. If you can provide evidence, please share it. If a person had weak eyes due to a venereal disease, he'd certainly wear tinted glasses for them, but just like today, if a person needed antibiotics for a venereal disease he'd take them, but we don't assume every person taking antibiotics has a venereal disease, since there are so many other uses.

The "luminous readers" ad is pretty interesting. Google "luminous readers" and apparently, they're still sold and used with that exact same name and technique today. And yet, till this moment, I never would have associated someone wearing sunglasses with cheating at cards. How widespread was that knowledge in the 1860s, outside of gambling circles?

Hank Trent
hanktrent@gmail.com

Hank, your still killing me...get a job.

hanktrent
07-23-2010, 11:33 PM
Hank, your still killing me...get a job.

If you're not as interested in history as I am (and a lot of people aren't), you don't need to read my posts. There's no need for personal insults.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@gmail.com

Longbranch 1
07-24-2010, 08:10 PM
"This book has a weaker link, claiming that "are you hip?" came from opium smoking in the 1920s and 30s. This book says an experienced opium smoker in the 19th century was called a hip, due to a sore hip from lying so much."

"I think that's true. Some more speculation:"

Not exactly a total debunk or verification of the common re-e
nactor perception of the “ VD” blue glasses, this thread has “opened my eyes”.

Seems like this is winding down,
Just struck me funny,
I may later have to lie about laying down and” ruminating” about speculating about spectacles.
Just a’joshing :D

Kevin Ellis,
26thNC