Ratta’s reading glasses

Monday 23 June 2014, 6.47am HKT

5.50am local time, 26°C (79°F), rain

RATTA has a rather old-fashioned but terribly hip gift from her employer.

glasses DSC3571

Ratta’s quizzer in blue mother-of-pearl resin

Foldable quizzer-style reading glasses with beaded neckcord, said to priced HK$180 (US$23 or £13.65).

It’s the female version of the more masculine pince-nez (pans-ney, IPA /ˈpænsˌneɪ/, literally ‘pinch-nose’).

pince-nez hoopspring spectacles

Rimless, hard-bridge pince-nez, a.k.a. hoopspring spectacles

Actually, the hard-bridge types don’t work on most Chinese people — or most Asians for that matter — mainly because Asians don’t have high nose ridges like Europeans have.

Or try the oh-so-terribly-upper-class-and-pimped-up monocle.


Gold plated monocle with gallery and cord, English, ca. 1890

Believe it or not, I used to own a monocle back in the 1980s. It was for laboratory work but a lot of people thought it was for pretence. Cost £25 then (inclusive of lens) from Scrivens Opticians, Regent Street, London W1, which no longer has a branch there.

Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov with a pince-nez
From a portrait by Osip Braz, 1898

Chekhov might have respawned himself as Robert Downey Jr without telling us.


Images: Rimless pince-nez via Spectacles Blog ♦ Monocle via aoa.org ♦ Anton Chekhov via A Word A Day

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DocID: B14180

6 Responses to “Ratta’s reading glasses”

  1. Ed Hurst said

    When I discovered that cheap generic reading glasses would work for my eyes, I bought them in a quad-pack at Sam’s Club (warehouse store) — works out to $5 each. I’m cheap all the way around.


  2. James said

    Anton Chekhov is the Iron Man….!?!?!?
    What kind of sensationalist blog are you running here?

    An illuminati-cloning conspiracy blog?


    On a more serious note, I’m going to have to visit the eye-doctor this year, my eyes are no longer 20-20. Glasses for me. Maybe it’ll make me look more distinguished? I hope.


    • Well, you know what ‘they’ say … Chekhov was a literary highflier, Iron Man flies, ergo …

      “Illuminati-cloning conspiracy blog” … that’s really good, actually, why I’d never thought of that…

      Glasses … I hope you won’t end up needing bifocals, which are a damn pain in the butt. Yes, glasses will make a person look distinguished with that deep, philosophical look on the face – mainly because can’t see shite most of the time! True fact that.

      PROTIP: At the eye examination, the optician most probably will ask if you tend to look at faraway objects or near ones. The trick is to tell him that you tend to need looking at objects more than 30 feet (10 metres) away. Your correctly made lenses will allow near viewing anyway, but you don’t need to have a slightly fuzzy (and somewhat annoying) background all the time. Lots of Chinese people need glasses since a young age (ca. 70% of us!) and most of us learnt this the hard/expensive way.


  3. James said

    “I’d never thought of that…”

    Hmmmmmmm… your overly quick disavowal is suspicious…. perhaps you’re one of them…..

    Thanks for the PROTIP – I’ll do that.


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