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Trade card for William Dowling, optician and instrument maker, London, England, 1822-1830

Science Museum, London

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view Trade card for William Dowling, optician and instrument maker, London, England, 1822-1830

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
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Credit: Trade card for William Dowling, optician and instrument maker, London, England, 1822-1830. Credit: Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Trade cards advertise businesses and their services. William Dowling was an English optician working in London from 1814 to 1830. He made spectacle frames from a variety of materials, including gold, horn, silver, tortoiseshell, and steel. Dowling’s clients were wealthy and could afford these luxury materials. He offered spectacles for ever type of wearer, including those experiencing long-sightedness, short-sightedness and those recovering from surgery. The trade card shows images of different types of spectacles. Like most other opticians of the time, Dowling also made telescopes and microscopes, which required highly ground lenses, a skill that spectacle makers had acquired and developed in the course of their day to day work.

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