The Best of Intentions


Travel Magnifying Glass in Leather Pouch by American Optical Company (LEO Design)


I bought this Edwardian travel magnifying glass twenty years ago, thinking it had such convenience and style—not to mention, impressive magnification.  The style was simple and cool.  The leather case possessed much character.  And the lens was powerful, indeed.  It went into a drawer, awaiting the day when my little plastic loupe finally gave-up-the-ghost (or was lost).  That day never came.  Thus, two decades later (while cleaning-out my desk drawers), I found the magnifying glass again and decided it was time to allow it to find a new home—with a more active user.  This is not to say that I haven't appreciated it under my possession.

It was made by the American Optical Company in Southbridge, Massachusetts, around 1910.  The company was founded in 1869 as a conglomeration of smaller New England eyeglass makers.  Within 20 years, the company was making over two million pairs of eyeglasses every year.  The company remains in-business today, mostly manufacturing high-performance eyeglasses (as AO Eyewear), some of it for the US Military.  They are known for their specialty aviator eyewear.   In 2020, the company was purchased by Chicago State Optical and production was moved from Southbridge to Chicago, Illinois.

Click on the photo above to learn more about this stylish and handsome (and useful) accessory.


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