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An Avery Story – by Ken Nagel

My name is Ken Nagel and I live in Illinois. I am a newer member of the Avery Memorial Association and, based on what some thought to be interesting Facebook posts to the Association’s page, I have been asked to share some history articles for the newsletter. I’m no expert, but, I’ve been working on my family history for years. I run a family web site which may be the only personal family site that is updated almost every day. I’m not just looking to list names and dates, but save the history as well. For whatever reason, I’ve found that the Avery family is rich with many fascinating history stories.

So: an interesting Avery story…

Nathaniel Olds1837 Jeptha Homer Wade (American, 1811–1890) America, Ohio, Cleveland
Nathaniel Olds,1837 by Jeptha Homer Wade

The Cleveland Museum of Art has a couple of paintings of interest to the Avery Clan. They have paintings of Sally (Avery) Olds (3X granddaughter of James, #1570 in the clan books) and her husband Nathaniel. Nathaniel’s portrait shown here is of particular interest due to the green tinted glasses he’s wearing.

So what’s up with the glasses? In 1780, Aimé Argand invented a new kind of whale oil lamp that burned three times brighter than other lamps of the day. People were concerned that the bright light would damage their eyes. Turns out the color green blocked light in the infrared spectrum, so it was easy to measure a temperature difference behind the glass and it was therefore concluded the glasses blocked “invisible” harmful rays.

The Cleveland Museum will sell you two decks of playing cards. On one deck, Sally is pictured on the back while Nathaniel is on the other. A third party will sell you a hoodie with Nathaniel’s portrait on it. I wouldn’t wear one though unless you’re prepared to do a lot of explaining!