This is an advertisement for J.L Borsch and Company from the program/souvenir booklet for the play Aiglon starring Maude Adams which played in Philadelphia at The Broad Street Theater back in 1901.
I love researching these ads because I never know what information I’m going to come across. I like to include a photograph of the building, if possible – so I was thrilled to find this photograph in The Free Library of Philadelphia’s collection!
I got another lucky break on this one when I discovered Dr. Borsch held patents for improving bifocal lenses. From Wikipedia:
Original bifocals were designed with the most convex lenses (for close viewing) in the lower half of the frame and the least convex lenses on the upper. Up until the beginning of the 20th century two separate lenses were cut in half and combined together in the rim of the frame. The mounting of two half lenses into a single frame led to a number of early complications and rendered such spectacles quite fragile. A method for fusing the sections of the lenses together was developed by Louis de Wecker at the end of the 19th century and patented by Dr. John L. Borsch, Jr. in 1908.
So there you have it – John L. Borsch – doctor, inventor, and owner of some hip and happening eyeglass signs!
Was that eye glass sign still on the building back in the mid70s? It seems familiar to me from my years in Philly.
No, the building was torn down and replaced with an apartment building in 1925. But I know what you mean because when I saw the photo, the hanging eyeglasses seemed familar to me too. There must have been another shop somewhere that had them. We should ask John!