The Original “Glasses for the Lazy”

Edit: If you’re just chancing across this post, be sure to read the delightful comments below by Janet Warner Reid, the oldest daughter of Clarence Warner.


This image has been propagated all over the net by various content aggregators whom I will not mention here; I saw it in a collection of interesting tidbits shared with me by my good wife. At the New York Daily News I was able to find an attribution:

Caters News./ Published: 04/28/2014 12:58:23

What intrigued me about this image is that I have a pair made in 1951 which I inherited from my dad. One temple is missing and the remaining hinge is corroded closed, but these are the real McCoy.

Lazy Lenses

Look closely between the lenses and you’ll see this logo:


Mark Cross is a premier luxury leather goods company, and still going strong. If you want a $2500.00 fine leather men’s travel bag about the size of a laptop case, they’re just the company for you. Armed with the brand, I was able to come up with this:

changing times

Changing Times, The Kiplinger Magazine, October 1951, Page 38. For what it’s worth, Kiplinger is still in business as well.

Naturally, if there’s a good idea, you can be sure someone in China will make it for cheap.


This pair is called Bed Prism Spectacles, made by a Chinese outfit and for sale via for $13.05. Given that the original set by Clarence S. Warner sold in 1951 for $19.95, the equivalent of $182.00 today, I’d say that’s a pretty good deal. Of course, it’s hard to tell the quality of these new knockoffs (and there are many, many versions out there), but I know the ones sold by Mark Cross were top-drawer.

The idea is great, but there are some drawbacks. If you’re nearsighted like me and wear glasses, they don’t work all that well. Contacts would be an obvious answer, but then one would need reading glasses for close-up work if you’re farsighted as well. Like me.

But I’ve had these in my treasure collection since 1989 when dad passed away, and it’s nice to know I have a pair of the originals, made by a company that makes only the best.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

6 responses to “The Original “Glasses for the Lazy”

  1. Pingback: The Garbage Disposer in 1951 | Playing in the World Game

  2. I was doing a little googling and found your article. I am Clarence Warner’s oldest daughter, and remember ‘helping’ him assemble pairs of Bedspecs in his office on Beacon Street in Boston in the 1950s. All those boxes of tiny screws… They did help many people with bad backs and other problems. Glad to know that at least one version is still obtainable.

    • What a delightful and serendipitous meeting; thank you so much for your comment I’m tickled to see your post; my goodness, you could have helped assemble the very pair I have! Warmest wishes to you!

      • Yes indeed I could have, although I was about 8 or 9 at the time and visited his office only now and then. Thank you very much for composing this article. Serendipitous, yes. I will pass it along to my family. We all thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s