First came the binoculars. It was just a little red and chrome travel set, made in Japan. When closed, it looks like a cigarette case. But, push the button, and it pops open to reveal eyepieces and lenses. Here's a green one from Etsy:
|from GreenHatVintage on etsy|
After that came the microscope. Then, we bought the little brass telescope. I confess that my love of certain sub-genres of historical fiction caused me to spend several minutes pretending to look for pirates....
|Get this set from CITYLIMITSHOP on etsy|
Our Sherlock Holmes fascination resulted in the first magnifying glass purchase. Then, a set of 1940s French binoculars, with a buttery soft leather exterior, brass eyepieces, and fat, round lenses.
|You can buy these from nevertoold on etsy.|
At Christmas came another magnifying glass, followed by another set of binoculars (we love the patina!). Here's a similar piece from Etsy:
|from ZhennelandTreasures on etsy|
And thus was born the collection of things you look through in order to see better. Part of the appeal comes from a background in science. Part of it, if we're being honest, is purely because they look good. Binoculars, microscope, pocket telescope--they are visually appealing and perfect conversation starters. Of course, there's also a certain voyeuristic appeal to the possibility of actually using them. (A non-negotiable criterion is that the item must give good focus. You never known when you're going to need a functional piece.) I occasionally grab the little red binoculars to watch birds, squirrels, and other wildlife in the backyard (not out of biological curiosity, but because they keep stealing my plants). Granted, there's not a whole lot I can do about it if I'm standing in the kitchen watching the larceny go down, but I can certainly yell at them through the window, which is marginally satisfying. And we're always on the lookout for more magnifying glasses that we can use to examine jewelry and paper ephemera, like this wish list item--perfection in Bakelite:
|get it from theTwoKellys on etsy|
We also have a certain love for vintage eyeglasses, which are undoubtedly the most useful things we use to see things better, but that might qualify for its own post someday. Until then, here's a great pair we'd love to have:
|From a fellow North Carolinian, Vintage50sEyewear on etsy|