The optician Vision Express has announced it is to re-introduce the single eye-glass following a sudden surge of interest among customers. “To our surprise we have had dozens of requests in the last few months so we thought we’d bring back the monocle on a trial basis,” says Bryan Magrath, the chief executive of Vision Express. “We’re as puzzled as anyone by the interest.”
“You put it in your strong eye in the same way you use your strong eye to look through a microscope or fire a rifle.It is something you put in the eye when there is a need to magnify something. It is only in fiction that anybody wears a monocle all the time.” It is claimed that it was the 17th- century Dutch optician Oliver Van de Kaamp who first created the monocle for those with one eye. However the first recorded use of one was in Rome in the 1720s when the antiquities connoisseur Philip von Stosch wore one to closely examine a set of rare engravings.
It was not for another 100 years that it became popular in Britain when a monocle framed by a simple loop of metal became fashionable in the 1830s. A second style emerged in the 1890s that had a raised edge to help hold it in place. It is generally accepted by historians that the reason the monocle became a symbol of the upper classes is because it was adopted by army officers who could not enlist if they were found to need spectacles. The monocle was a way around the problem. It was acceptable to the authorities in both Britain and Germany and that in turn led to it being copied by the gentry in Civvy Street.
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