Flash forward to the 19th century and the centre of glass eye production has moved to Germany, led by glass blower Ludwig Müller-Uri (1811-88), a maker of dolls’ eyes who developed glass for prosthetic use by locals.
This c.1900 boxed set of glass eyes was on sale at the Wimbledon Home & Antiques Fair on 30 August from Bath-based Wooden Hill Toys, for £850.
Says dealer Steven Phillips (pictured, with daughter Rowan): “In good condition, I’m selling them at £30-40 per piece and if broken £15-20 each for people to set them into jewellery.”
The set’s original velvet-lined box bears the name of London ocularist E Greiner. The Greiner name is well known in the ocular prosthetics field, with a fourth generation of Greiners today creating glass-blown eyes at the Institut für Künstliche Augen (Artificial Eyes) in Munich.