Reenacting and Eyewear...

May 13, 2019
Anyone here do Reenacting and wear glasses? Found frames on eBay but none of the local shops even want to try to replace the lenses. Found a place online but I can't even touch what they want! (More than a modern pair with all the bells and whistles!)

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Jan 27, 2015
San Antonio, Texas
I typically do living history for the 1830s-era in Texas. I have a pair of eye-glasses with small round lenses and double-folding temples that look like alpaca or "German silver." As decrepitude sets in, I've gone to bifocals, but I just have lenses for distance installed.

I also have a pair of Jas. Townsend's frames with brass sliding temples for the Civil War era. Again, these have lenses for distance only. Over time, these turn the bridge of my nose green. Some people report that they are uncomfortable to wear over time, but some nice thread or yarn and tying a thin cover would help with that I expect. I may have to do the bridge that way with some linen thread.

I also have a pince-nez, again with distance only lenses. The nose-pieces are far from satisfactory, and so at some point I'll have to tweak them a bit.

At a future date, I may grab a pair of the late 1700s bronze frames on offer by Avalon Forge. Hopefully these are still available!

I must be lucky? My eye doctor uncomplainingly installs my prescription lenses?
I have to take them off and wear modern safety glasses when I skirmish, of course, but that is because of basic safety while firing the musket. "eyes and ears" as the saying goes!


First Sergeant
Nov 21, 2014
I wear my contacts, which are my distance correction, and use a pair of magnifiers ("cheater") if I was to read something. Either Townsend or Godwin - I don't remember which - sell a pair of spectacles with magnifiers in them for around $30. You may also luck out and fine an original pair with lenses that are close enough to your correction to be useful. Try on every pair you see in antique shops. I also have a couple pair of small oval lensed modern glasses that are my correction one or two corrections back, and they're OK for a couple days at a time. I keep a set of these in my kit for mornings, evenings, emergencies and "I just don't feel like wearing my lenses right now" moments.


Regimental Armorer
Feb 20, 2005
South of the North 40
There are several sutlers that sell, or used to, period style frames. I've purchased my own at antique shops and had my optometrist put lenses in.

The most important thing is that the frames have to be screwed in, if they are lead plugs (which was the most common) no optometrist will touch them. Both of my original frames cost less than $20.

Good luck.
Jan 7, 2019
I found a nice period frame on eBay for about $12. The frame is steel with a brass bridge but it was all rusty and shabby looking when I bought it. Some steel wool cleaned it up nicely then I blued the steel parts - the glasses look almost new. My local optical shop didn’t charge any more for my bifocal lenses than they would for modern frames.

Historic Eyewear Co. has some nice frames, but for the cost of one of just one of their blued steel reproductions ($139.95 for frame alone) I have bought the frame I mentioned plus four other pairs of sunglasses on eBay. Sometimes eBay comes through with good stuff.

Similar threads

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)