This article was published on the front page of the February 4, 1892, issue of The Stark County Democrat.A Case of Second Sight.STEUBENVILLE, O., Feb. 2.--The physicians of this city are puzzled over a rare case of second sight occurring lately. William Bickerstaff, an old resident of the Sixth ward, has regained his sight after being compelled to wear spectacles for forty years. About two weeks since [or, about two weeks ago] his sight began to improve. Now he reads his newspaper without the aid of glasses. His age is 82.
Notes and Comments
Despite the fact that the articles says William Bickerstaff was 82 years old in 1892 by all other accounts he was born on February 14, 1807, and, therefore, would have been nearly 85 years old. Was accuracy was probably less important in those days? Or was the article originally hand-written and the 5 misread as a 2?
I have no background in optical science but I would dearly love to know how his vision was restored. I know diabetics often have vision problems but I think they usually learn toward losing vision rather than gaining it. However it happened, it must have been a real blessing to William not to need glasses to read.
I'd like to know more about how he obtained his glasses, the prescription, and what they looked like. As far as I know, no photographs survive of William Bickerstaff.