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tline3open  Aluminum opera glasses

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Author Topic:   Aluminum opera glasses
Polly

Posts: 1939
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 09-24-2017 12:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought you might enjoy seeing yesterday's fleamarket find: a pair of aluminum opera glasses. The seller said they were from the 1880s, which seems right to me--I've seen another pair with identical birds on it and engraved with the presentation date "Xmas 1886." (It's for sale on a website, so I won't link to it here.) In the 1880s, aluminum was no longer prohibitively expensive, but it was still rare enough to be treated as a semi-precious metal; it wasn't mass produced until after WWI. This pair of opera glasses is unmarked, but I believe it was probably made in France (they mostly were). It probably once had mother-of-pearl rings on the eye pieces, which might have had the manufacturer's mark on them. The aluminum is carved and repoussé, which I believe is hard to do with aluminum (repoussé, I mean, not carving and engraving, which is easy)--right, agleopar? Aluminum is very light, which makes it a good choice for opera glasses--your hand wouldn't get tired holding them. They came in the original case, which is in terrible shape but clearly marked with the name of the retailer, a Minneapolis jeweler.



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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 09-24-2017 12:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a wonderful find!! smile

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Polly

Posts: 1939
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 09-24-2017 01:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, Scott!

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 09-25-2017 03:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those are really nice. Antiques of this type easily transport me back in time to where I feel I am sitting in an opera house back in the 1880s.

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agleopar

Posts: 847
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 10-01-2017 07:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Polly these are very cool, such a shame aluminum became coke can material!
You are right about engraving it, very easy and so is chasing it! I do not know for a fact but I'm guessing modern aluminum is alloyed for jet, bike, machines etc to be super hard. This stuff probably not and therefore quite soft.

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Polly

Posts: 1939
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 10-02-2017 06:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some ironical artist should do elaborate chasing and repousse work on a coke can.

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agleopar

Posts: 847
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 10-02-2017 11:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a guy who does amazing coke cans, geometric designs chased with his thumb nail!! I saw him on Instagram...

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