FITS-U bridge fitting set

Catalogue Number: 1729
FITS-U bridge fitting set
Category: Equipment
Sub-Category: Dispensing tool
Time Period: 1900 to 1939
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: Southbridge, Mass, USA
Publisher/Manufacturer: American Optical Company
Description Of Item: Pince-nez bridge fitting set. Timber box 113 x 199 mm with hinged timber framed glass lid, felt lined interior holding 12 rimless pince-nez, oval shaped lenses each marked with a cross and three digit numbers indicating the bridge width, height and inset. One pince-nez is marked FITS-U on one lens. The bridges (fingerpieces) are saddle bridges and are all metal construction. No brand or manufacturer markings other than the word Fits-U on one lens in the set.
Historical Significance: The trial fingerpiece set was an optician's tool to fit patients with an appropriate pince-nez. This set was probably made by the American Optical Company since the company is known to have made such sets using the brand name FITS-U. See http://pincenez1.blogspot.com/2008/03/trial-fingerpiece-set.html. The "Fits-U" trial fingerpiece sets were made from 1903 to about 1930 by the American Optical in Southbridge, Massachussetts. Smaller makers such as Perfex and Shur-On also made pince-nez fitting sets. There are three different factors determining fit of pince-nez: 1) interpupillary distance, 2) height of the bridge, and 3) inclination of the crest of the bridge. These parameters are designated in the three digit number on each lens, The first digit of the three digit number indicates pupillary distance in units of 1/16th inch, the second digit indicates the height of the bridge (also in 1/16 inch units) and the third digit indicates the inclination of the bridge beyond the plane of the lenses. See Cat No 1730 for more information.
How Acquired: Donated by Brian Flynn, former member of the College and honorary archivist
Condition: Very good
Location: Archive room. West wall. Unit 2 Drawer 1

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