Published date: January 30, 2017
  • Location: Hinckley, Utah, United States


⭕ These vintage panto silver eyeglasses are in almost pristine condition. Features round shaped lenses. Cable arms. These are previously worn frames, so normal scratches and general wear and tear are expected The frames are fully functional and the hinges work. The round lens are in very good condition. The lens must not have much correction, as when I look through them, I do not see much difference when not looking through them at the same thing.

The black clamshell-type hard case opens and closes/snaps easily and has some wear, mainly on the inside velour-type interior. The case is embossed in gold letters with a name and address: H. C. Sparks, F.B.G.A., 132 Winter Rd., Southsea. These glasses may or may not have been Mr. Sparks own personal eyeglasses. Also, if I am correct, my research shows me that this fellow was an ophthalmologist practicing in Southsea, England on 143 Winter Road in the 1950s, so these eyeglasses may have belonged to one of his patients. See the ad below that I found online that relates to Dr. Sparks:

[http://www.genesreunited.co.za/searchbna/results?memberlastsubclass=none&;searchhistorykey=0&;keywords=h%20sparks&;type=advertisement]: Portsmouth Evening News Hampshire, England 9 Oct 1951 H. C. SPARKS Consulting Ophthalmic Opticians 143 Winter Road Southsea Telephone Portsmouth 32428 H. C. SPARKS Consulting Ophthalmic Opticians 143 Winter Road Southsea Telephone Portsmouth 32428.

[Note the format of telephone exchange name/number format that they used at that time.] Southsea is an area within Portsmouth, England.

Even though the ad in the paper indicates 1951, this ophthalmologist could have been in service for ages before that (possibly even a family business for generations). From my research, my instinctive thought is that these wire rims are much older than 1951; that is, that they themselves might be older than the case, but that is just a guess.

As for the eyeglasses, the nose bridge is marked ALGHA B. I believe these eyeglasses were custom made by hand in London, England and manufactured in the ALGHA factory, which dates back to the 1920s. Panto refers to the shape of glasses which is often associated with the National Health Service (the National Health range of glasses was an historical phenomenon peculiar to the United Kingdom between 1948 and 1985). The term panto comes from the word pantoscopic which literally means seeing everything or wide view. These frames, round with a high hinge, certainly deliver maximum lens. The high quality of NHS eyeglasses has meant that many frames have survived to the present day and they have now taken on a new identity... as desirable retro-chic eyewear.

The period 1948 -1951 was a golden age for the ophthalmic opticians. New patients were presenting themselves from all directions and the cost could be claimed from the State by filling in a few forms. Many people who had never had an eye examination before, or at least not for a very long time, emerged from the woodwork. Some demanded their free spectacles even when the result of the sight test proved that they didnt need them! Free (metal) spectacles for all were among the first things to be cut from the NHS scheme, by Labour Partys Hugh Gaitskell in 1951 on grounds of cost. After that, free spectacles were restricted to certain qualifying groups.

Size of the eyeglasses in this listing: frame width: 4 inches; cable arms are about 4 long before curving to slid around the ear; lens size: 1-1/2 (38.1 mm) in diameter; bridge: 7/8 (22.225 mm); and metal nose pads are about 6/8 long. Most vintage frames tend to run small. They were worn much closer to the face than todays frames. They still remain favorites by many today who desire the vintage look and are generally associated with intellectuals and academia.

These vintage eyeglasses would be a nice addition to your collection, or I would assume they could possibly be refitted to use with your lens prescription or used as is.

See the photos for more details. Cash only. Thanks for looking.

Phone number ✆ +1 385-327-7138

Hinckley, Utah

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