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Turn pin spectacles with tortoiseshell frames, cased, Paris, 1819-1838

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These are known as turn pin spectacles. They have side arms which are hinged around the temple area of the head. The hinged sides rotate 360 degrees. The case is engraved wood with a fish design and decorated with a mother of pearl disc. The frames are of tortoiseshell. This was a luxury material only affordable by wealthy people. The material comes from the shell of a hawk bill turtle rather than the shell of a tortoise.

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Glossary: ophthalmology

The branch of medicine dealing with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways (usually the eyes or the brain).

Glossary: spectacles

Pair of eyeglasses to compensate for defective vision or to protect the eyes from light, dust, and the like. Kept in place by sidepieces passing over the ears, on the nose or held in the hand.

Glossary: optometry

The professional practice of eye and vision care. Optometry includes the correction of visual defects with lenses or glasses.