Helps You Pick a Cinder Out of Your Eye (May, 1929)

Was this a really big problem at the time? Big enough that people needed to carry around portable cinder pluckers? I suppose that with all of the coal and wood fires that perhaps there were a lot more cinders, but still…

Helps You Pick a Cinder Out of Your Eye

A SAFETY-FIRST device, small enough to carry in a vest pocket, has been invented by A. F. Ouellet, of New York City, to aid in removing cinders or dust particles from your eyes. A five-power magnifying mirror, one inch in diameter, is fitted with a wire clamp by which it is attached to the little finger of the left hand. While the mirror is held before the irritated eye, the thumb and forefinger of the same hand push back the eyelids, and a folded piece of soft paper, cut to a point, is manipulated by the right hand to remove the dust speck. The eye that is being treated observes the action.

Besides magnifying the eye, the mirror reflects light on the spot where the irritating particle is located. The mirror and clamp fit into a small case for carrying in a man’s pocket or in a woman’s hand bag.

  1. Bob says: December 6, 20077:45 am

    There would have been a lot of cinder, dust, and other particles in the air then. No pollution control, fast growing economy, date on the article is just before the depression hit, so I would imagine that it would be quite chaotic.

    The machinist chest of then, and even today, have a small mirror in the inside top of the lid. This was so they could remove slivers and chips from their eye and get back to work. No nurses or doctors at the workplace back then.

    Even today, I have been working in areas where the nearest doctor is an hour or more away, DIY surgery is not fun, but sometimes necessary.

  2. Adrian says: December 6, 20077:57 am

    People still continue today to travel on a steam train with their head out of the window.

    “The mirror and clamp fit into a small case” I wish I had one of these.
    Anybody know of a modern version that’s available?

  3. Marc says: December 6, 200711:33 am

    It’s not very well known but cinders back in the days would aim for the eyes, nowadays they’ll just end up in your thumb.

  4. Neil Russell says: December 6, 20075:16 pm

    “Do you have a cinder in your eye?” That was a common question until sometime after the war (in fact the phrase “after the war” used to be common too, I wonder if it still is outside websites like this one?)
    There’s even an old song that refers to the situation called “Josephine”. In one part of it the lyrics go: “When I say she winks, she tells me she thinks, there’s a cinder in her eye…”
    My folks were both from the Indianapolis area and I’ve heard many times about how laundry hung outside to dry would sometimes come back in sooty when the wind was right ,the factories were in full swing, and the smoke from everyone’s coal burning fireplace or furnace drifted down.
    The air is definitely cleaner these days, far fewer cinders!

  5. John Miletta says: September 27, 20097:46 am

    Yes, What a great product! Wish I had one.

    As I machinist and even though I always ware safty gogles, I still sometimes get particules in the eye. If it happens to be metal (to remove it) a paper match pulled out from its book will have a fuzzy end. I haven`t found anything that works better for clinging to and extracting metal fragments from the eye with the least amount of irratation.

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