ILAMO’s museum exhibits include a variety of optometry and eye-related items that hold historical significance and some that are just fun to see. These include awards, souvenirs, novelties, unusual eyewear, and more. Here are a few interesting items from the collection:
Embroidered button with early AOA logo
This 3-inch badge was accented with gold and silver bullion. Made by Gold Crest, Ltd., Studio City, CA
Medallion awarded annually by the American Optometric Association in recognition of distinguished service and significant contribution to the visual welfare of mankind. The award features a bronze casting of Phoebus Apollo, worshipped by the Greeks as the god of radiance and light, and later by the Romans as god of healing and the arts. He is portrayed bending the rays of the sun with a prism to obtain white light.
Clear and cobalt blue glass and metal eye cups; original Flint Eye Bath box, Eagle Druggists Supply, New York
Silver pin in the form of a pair of folded eyeglasses
Krolls Orthoptic Exercises
Set of 26 colored plates, visual training cards, arranged and improved by Dr. R. Perlia [B.K. & S., N.Y.]
AOA meeting badge 1905
Badge from the American Optometric Association Congress 1905, Minneapolis. [A. Wilkinson & Co., Providence RI] At this time the group was still known as the American Association of Opticians, and it was their 8th annual convention.
AOA meeting badge 1908
Button and ribbon from the 11th annual convention of the American Association of Opticians, Philadelphia PA [Whitehead & Hoag]
AOA meeting badge 1909
Badge from the 12th Congress of the American Association of Opticians (later AOA), Atlanta 1909 [Pettibone Mfg Co., Cincinnati]
AOA meeting badge 1920
The 23rd annual Congress badge showed the new name adopted in 1919: American Optometric Association. The 1920 convention was held in St. Louis. [Standard Optical Co., Geneva NY]
AOA meeting badge 1921
Badge from the 24th Congress of the American Optometric Association, 1921, held in New York NY [Standard Optical Co., Geneva NY]
AOA meeting badge 1922
Badge from the 25th Congress of the American Optometric Association, 1922, Indianapolis. [Standard Optical Co., Geneva NY] Convention badges often featured landmarks from the host cities.
AOA meeting badge 1924
Badge from the 27th Congress of the American Optometric Association, 1924, Kansas City, MO [Standard Optical Co., Geneva NY]
AOA meeting badge 1931
Badge from the 1931 San Antonio TX Congress of the American Optometric Association. It was the 34th annual AOA convention.
Meeting badge 1924
Interesting badge from the 29th annual New York State Optometric Society meeting, 1924 [General Optical Co.]
Meeting badge donor
This is the reverse side of a convention badge, showing the company who provided them to attendees. The beautiful badges were so liked that optometrists would sometimes register for a meeting even if they could not come, in order to get a badge. [Standard Optical Company, Geneva NY]
Meeting badges group
Optometrists registered for annual conventions received attractive badges supplied by large optical firms, and many collected them even if they could not attend.
Meeting badge 1907
This badge is from the New England Association of Opticians annual meeting in Boston, 1907 [C. A. Wilkinson & Co., Providence RI]
Mirror spy fan
French fan of paper and ivory, ca 1840. Photo shows the small mirror by which a lady might discreetly view individuals nearby. Other spy fans featured peep holes in the blades, and some fans had small magnifiers.
Spy fan with mirror
Popular with fashionable women were decorative fans made of ivory, tortoiseshell, silk, lace, paper, and other materials. Sometimes they included magnifying lenses, small eyeglasses, or peep holes. This French fan of ivory has a mirror allowing the user to spy on her neighbors inconspicuously.
Natural Eyesight System
The Natural Eye Normalizer was part of a daily practice program designed to prevent or eliminate functional eye problems. It was used to administer a uniform rhythmical massage to the eyes, to improve circulation, to relax and restore natural flexibility of the eye muscles, and treatments were recommended several times a day. [Natural Eyesight Institute, London, 1935]
Printer's block showing a pair of folded eyeglasses; wood and copper, 2x1
Optometric Office Sign
Sign from the office of Bennett and Babcock optometrists; mirrored glass, with copper frame
Souvenir advertisement fob
Decorative fob on leather strap. The reverse side has an image of a nosepiece and the inscription Does the Kachoo catch you? Will fit any nose. Compliments of McIntire, Magee & Brown, Philadelphia, PA
Trial Lens Case
Large trial lens case, Nachet & Fils, Paris
Spectacle Shipping boxes
Small wooden boxes such as these were commonly used in the U.S. mid-20th century to conveniently mail eyeglasses between optical labs, optometrists, and patients.