Gold oval-eye spectacles with case and cleaning cloth

Catalogue Number: 2912
Gold oval-eye spectacles with case and cleaning cloth
Category: Spectacles and lenses
Sub-Category: Spectacles with case
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: Late 1930s
Time Period: 1900 to 1939
Description Of Item: Gold oval-eye spectacles, saddle bridge and curl sides, glazed with glass lenses R & L + 4.00 D (approx) contained in a metal snap case, 30 x 55 mm, covered in deep blue grained leatherette and lined with blue velvet. The base of the case is gold-stamped ' J. S COWEN M.V.O.A / H. P. COWEN F.V.O.A / OPTOMETRISTS / 219 CHAPEL ST PRAHRAN '. The top of the case bears a motif of two pairs of light blue lines crossed at right angles. Enclosed is a presumably contemporaneous cream coloured deckle-edged cleaning cloth, 110 x 75 mm, advertising the Cowen practice.
Historical Significance: Joseph Sydney Cowen was registered for practice of optometry under section 8 (prior experience) of the 1935 Opticians Act on 17 August 1936. He was among the first optometrists to be registered as qualified for the practice of optometry in Victoria under an Act of Parliament. He had no formal qualifications but was registered on the basis of his prior experience in optometry. He claims the qualification M.V.O.A but this simply signifies that he was admitted as a Member of the Victorian Optical Association (VOA), but without examination. The VOA initiated a Fellowship qualification (F.V.O.A.) in 1913 obtained by examination and which conferred rights to the suffix FVOA. His son Harold held that qualification as shown on the case and cleaning cloth. It is of interest that the Cowens describe themselves as 'optometrists' on both the case and the cleaning cloth, not as 'opticians' or 'optometrists and opticians' as was customary until the 1960s. This might suggest a later date for these spectacles but the telephone number WINDSOR 1193 is a number format in use in the period 1930 to 1938.
How Acquired: Donated by Ron Beck, Kilsyth
Date Acquired: July 2016
Condition: Very good
Location: Archive Office. Spectacles cabinet Drawer 1

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