19th Century Sliding Temples

Eyeglasses Warehouse has an inventory of sliding temple eyeglasses made from different materials, in different sizes, and representing different periods between the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s. All of our sliding temple glasses are authentic historical pieces, curated by our team to wearable quality for daily wear, reenacting, and costumes. See our inventory below and refer back to this page as we add more antique 19th century glasses.

About Our 19th Century Sliding Temple Eyeglasses

When you want a pair of eyeglasses that evokes the form and function of the 1800s, sliding temple glasses are the ideal choice. This was the most popular glasses style for daily wear as eyeglasses and sunglasses in the 19th century.

Sliding temple glasses were first developed in the 1760s and remained in style until the 1880s. In comparison to straight temple glasses, the era’s other popular style, sliding temple glasses were more likely to stay in place as the wearer moved around. This made them suitable for housework or light activity, although they would still fall off during exercise like horseback riding.

Each pair of sliding temple spectacles was custom made to fit the user. The arms consisted of two separate pieces, one of which slid into the other. This enabled the wearer to adjust the length of the temple pieces, or retract them fully to fit in the case. Although there was no curvature at the end of the temples to help keep them on the face, teardrop finials offered some added stability.

Nose pads were not yet invented, and sliding temple glasses used a C-bride or crank bridge to settle the frame over the nose. Surrounding the lenses, frame shapes for sliding temple glasses could be:

  • Oval Eyeglass Frames
  • Octagonal Eyeglass Frames
  • Rectangular Eyeglass Frames

Steel, gold, silver, and brass were some of the most often used materials in making sliding temple eyeglass frames. Gold and silver plating was common, although gold filling – in which the frames were entirely made of gold – was also a possibility.

The lenses on sliding temple glasses, as is typical of all antique 1800s spectacles, were smaller than the average lens today. Each lens was centered over the eye, both vertically and horizontally and did not expand far beyond the eye socket. 

Sliding temple eyeglasses were a style worn by men and women. Some people still wear them today, making their style and outfit more special and eclectic. They are a unique alternative to modern glasses or essentials for reenactors looking to add period accurate glasses to their kit. Eyeglasses Warehouse sells original sliding temple eyeglasses for Civil War reenactors and Victorian reenactors throughout the century, as well as pieces for costumes and props.

The popularity of sliding temple glasses means that there are many examples of these glasses available today and we are continuously finding and restoring antique glasses for our selection. If you are searching for a particular size or style of vintage sliding temple glasses from the 19th century, our website is the best place to find your ideal glasses.