Back-to-School - Part XI


Heavy Antiqued Brass Magnifying Glass (LEO Design)


The school bell has rung!  Pupils to their desks!  While college freshmen may have encountered wistful parental partings, grade school returnees likely perceived their parents breathing a muted sigh of relief.  Such is the annual tide of school-going: students flow in and out of their institutions with seasonal regularity.  Like water, the droplets are always changing though the tides themselves remain regulated.  Over the next several days, LEO Design would like to share some interesting Back-to-School offerings—ideas to help organize, cheer and distract as students push-on through their matriculations.

It happens to most of us.  At 45?  50?  55?  We start to notice that all the font sizes have suddenly shrunk.  Inexplicably, someone down-sized all the print!  Add to that: all those Twenty-Something tech wizards—who think they will never age—design the world's electronics and packaging and graphics with the assumption that "old folks" aren't interested in adopting their technology.  Hence more teeny-tiny "buttons," micro-links and fine print to scrutinize.  Well, sometimes old-time solutions will still solve new-age problems!  Thus, one can never have too many magnifying glasses scattered around the house.  In the bathroom for reading bottles.  Near the TV for reading the PBS guide.  Or in the glovebox for checking receipts.  (Those mundane tasks which populate the pursuits of "experienced people.")

Magnifying glasses were invented in the Mediterranean region or Middle East thousands of years ago.  The Greek playwright Aristophanes, in his comedy The Clouds (424 BC), included a joke about magnifying glasses.  Four centuries later, Roman philosopher Seneca (born 4 BC) advised that a good magnifying glass could be used to read tiny letters, "no matter how small or dim."  Those aging eyes—of people who still wish to read—have been a problem since (probably) writing was first invented.  And the magnifying glass has proven a great solution for thousands of years.

The contemporary magnifying glass, shown above, is just the right size; big enough to cover a sufficient field and small enough to be handled with ease.  The lens is quite strong (for its size) and the durable brass bezel and textured handle feel nice and secure in-the-hand.  The brass is finished with a tasteful antique patina.  A nice gift idea for that friend turning fifty!  Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome and useful piece.

A final Back-to-School idea tomorrow.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248