Algha nickel round eye spectacle frame designed for use under gas masks

Catalogue Number: 368
Algha nickel round eye spectacle frame designed for use under gas masks
Category: Spectacles and lenses
Sub-Category: Spectacle frame
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: c 1940
Time Period: 1940 to 1999
Publisher/Manufacturer: ALGHA
Description Of Item: Nickel round eye spectacle frame, metal nose pads and bridge in one piece, curl sides. Engraved behind bridge: ALGHA D. W 11.2 cm x D 4.1 cm.
Historical Significance: This frame design was used under respirators in the Second World War. Also supplied to troops for general use and in hospitals and out patient departments. They were made by the Algha Works of M Wiseman and Co Ltd. Max Wiseman had built a successful business in London in the early 1920s making and selling lenses and frames. His metal frames were imported from Germany but rampant inflation in Germany in the 1930s had made those frames too expensive. Wiseman asked his sons to set up a factory to make rolled gold spectacle frames. They did so in 1932 by purchasing a whole factory from Germany and employing 10 technicians from Germany. The new factory in London was named the Algha Works. During World War 2 (1939-1945) the company diverted part of its production to gas mask frames and aviator goggles and the German technicans were incarcerated. The company is still extant http://www.algha.com and makes gold eyewear under the trade name of Saville Row Eye-Wear London.Digital image 2.8 Mb in Museum iPhoto
How Acquired: Donated by Mr Ken MacFarlane. Melbourne optometrist
Condition: Excellent
Location: Archive Office. Spectacles cabinet Drawer 14

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