Some of you may not think that the hinge in a pair of spectacles is important but this overlooked bit of kit is the first thing I inspect before I purchase a collection. They are very small things that amount to a big subject in eyewear. It wasn’t until the eighteenth century that spectacles had arms and thus needed a hinge. Before then, they just sat on the nose. The supremacy of the hinge lasted until the 1960s when it became an ambition of designers to create hinges without pins. By the mid-sixties, techniques had been invented that allowed hinges without pins. A hole is bored in to the acetate and then it is heated. A ball-shaped claw is then pushed into the hole, and as the acetate contracts, it shuts around the ball. This is less expensive than the traditional pin-joint, which is more expressive and suggests greater craftsmanship and integrity, the qualities I always look for and rely on. Another type of hinge is the spring hinge, which I avoid. They break easily and don’t last very long.