Perfume Bottle with Spyglass

This bright cut glass bottle is coil-shaped with a miniature gilt brass retractable monocular spyglass fitted into the center. A brass screw-on cap is lined with cork to keep the liquid fragrance safe inside the glass spiral.

Scent bottle with embedded monocular retracted.

The monocular, or tiny telescope, is focused by pull-out adjustment, with three draws, magnifying the view.

Sent bottle with embedded monocular fully extended.

This lay-down scent bottle — that is, it does not stand up on a dressing table but lays flat — measures 2 ½”. The monocular, when fully extended, measures just under 1″. It dates to c1820.

Apparently the first quarter of the 19th century was the “golden age of the novelty spyglass,” when miniature telescopes were embedded in a variety of objects. This perfume bottle, small enough to be kept in a reticule, could easily be slipped out, extended, and used to surreptitiously spy on others at the theater or the opera.

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