Title Image


Glass eye

A collection of glass eyes

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• Date: 19th c.

• Place of manufacture: Paris, France

• Manufacturing technique: opaque white glass, blown and painted, made using a glassmaker’s torch

• Dimensions: box — L : 30 ; L : 34 ; ép. : 3,5 / eye — Ø : environ 2,3

• Collection: Coll. Adrian Colin

• Credit: © Adrian Colin


In the nineteenth century Paris enjoyed a monopoly on the manufacture of glass eyes. Enormous progress in the shape and look of prosthetics was made at this time. Ocularists made artificial eyes using an enameller’s torch and blowing a hollow ball mounted on a glass tube. Next the iris was added and recovered by the front chamber. The shell was then cut out and reheated. Gradually prosthetics of various colours and shapes were developed for the orbit (eye socket). In 1868 Germany developed glass made from cryolite, which was lighter and chemically neutral. In France the politician Albert Aubry, a veteran of WWI, was the first person to be fitted with a plastic eye, in 1947.