Introduction: Leather-framed Spectacles

A storm in 1583 sank the Venetian merchant ship Gagiana 20 little wooden boxes were recovered in
1968, each containing a dozen leather-framed spectacles likely made in Nuremberg, Germany.The pictures on the right are period examples. One from a painting, one recovered from a shipwreck. The ones on the left are my attempt at a reproduction.

Step 1: Making the Frames

When you get the round lenses, you want to measure from center to center and mark this on your leather. I ordered my lenses online from Zenni Optical.

Then set a leather circle cutter at 1/16th of and inch less then the radius of the lenses.

Using your center points, cut the circles, then sketch out a shape that will connect the two circles.

Cut this shape out and make another exactly like it.

Step 2: Inserting the Lenses

I find it helps to sew up the bottoms of the frames to basically make a pocket to hold the lenses.

Then, making sure to keep the same orientation, slip the lenses between the two pieces of leather and finish sewing them into the frames.

Step 3: Finishing the Frames

Making sure there are no marks on the lenses, I heat the frames in the oven to about 100 degrees.

Then paint melted beeswax onto the leather frames to seal and stiffen them.

These spectacles did not have ear pieces. They were more of a pince-nez style of frames.

Leather Contest

Participated in the
Leather Contest