X-Ray Specs


Harold von Braunhut


Novelty Glasses


The glasses allow the user to see through most objects, as long as they focused on a object for a brief period of time.


The user will be exposed to radiation and could die after a long period of time.


Wearing the glasses.

Collected by

Artie Nielson & Mr. Stall







Date of Collection




The principle behind the illusion was first patented in 1909 by Fred J. Wiedenbeck (Patent #914904). X-Ray Specs were improved (Patent# 3592533) by Harold von Braunhut, also the inventor of Amazing Sea-Monkeys.

Novelty ValueEdit

X-Ray Specs consist of an outsized pair of glasses with plastic frames and white cardboard "lenses" printed with concentric red circles, and emblazoned with the legend "X-RAY VISION". The lenses consist of two layers of cardboard with a small hole about 6 mm (.25 inch) in diameter punched through both layers. The user views objects through the holes. A feather is embedded between the layers of each lens. The vanes of the feathers are so close together that light is diffracted, causing the user to receive two slightly offset images. For instance, one would see two offset images of the pencil. Where the images overlap, a darker image is obtained, supposedly giving the illusion that one is seeing the graphite embedded within the body of the pencil. As may be imagined, the illusion is not particularly sustainable.

X-Ray Specs were long advertised with the slogan "See the bones in your hand, see through clothes!" Some versions of the advertisement featured an illustration of a young man using the X-Ray Specs to examine the bones in his hand while a voluptuous woman stood in the background, as though awaiting her turn to be "X-rayed."

The claim is untrue, of course; besides the unlikelihood of a safe and functional X-ray device selling for about a dollar, X-ray detectors require an X-ray source. Part or even most of the novelty value lies in provoking the object of the wearer's attentions. These subjects, if unable to be entirely sure that the device did not indeed allow the wearer to compromise their modesty, were liable to respond with a variety of amusing reactions.


Mr. Stall and Artie were sent to Vegas when they noticed there was a card player who was winning a lot of games, which wouldn't have drawn their attention; but when he was admitted to the hospital due to headaches and finding out that he had cancer, and realizing that he was wearing X-Ray Specs, they believed he was using the glasses using to win the games. After speaking to the player, and finding out he was using the glasses to win money to help his sister who was also in the hospital, they found out that the younger brother took the glasses so he could cheat on a test. Luckily the agents got the glasses before it could cause harm, and to help the card player Mr. Stall used the infrimary pin to heal the man, as he (the player) was only trying to be helpful.

The glasses now reside in the Warehouse in a simple glasses case.

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