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Wedding Traditions Plus Vintage Wedding Fashions

Updated on April 27, 2017

Old Wedding Traditions

By Sharon Stajda

I loved researching Wedding traditions, I was surprised to find so many old traditions, and more over how they got started. So many of these old wedding customs have literally been around and upheld for many centuries. Will you be keeping with tradition, and follow a few old customs? Perhaps you will include something borrowed or blue? Maybe you will toss your bouquet to the unmarried ladies. Do you know how that tradition got started? Well, I think you will so enjoy this article, and be as surprised as I was about just how some of these strange traditions got their start ! Plus in my research I discovered so much about bridal fashion, Did you know in the 1850s brides did not often wear white? I think you are going to love all the fashion trivia I have added for your enjoyment.

If you are newly engaged, I bet you can't wait to start planning your wedding? Perhaps you are giving some thought on how you can make the day extra special, the perfect wedding you have been dreaming of all of your life. have you considered including some old wedding traditions or ethnic cultural traditions to your wedding celebration? Why not make your wedding unique, and unforgettable by wearing a gown that was inspired by the bridal fashions of the 1950s? How about a roaring twenties wedding, with all the hoopla? Theme weddings can be so much fun!

I hope you will take time to explore all the wonderful old wedding traditions and customs that have evolved over hundreds of years. You may even find one or two old traditions that you will want to keep on your special day.


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Weddings In The 1850s Were Kept Solemn

Did you ever wonder when it became a tradition to use Wagner's "Here Comes the Bride" ? Weddings in the 1850s were often a very solemn affair. The over-piety of earlier years still held for most church ceremonies. However, sometime, organ music before or after the marriage vows was being permitted, and actually soon became customary. At first, the organist was left to select the music as he pleased, most often he would make a selection from Bach or a piece from one of the other classical composers of the day. However, Gradually two favorites pieces of music appeared, The Bridal Chorus from Wagner's Lohengrin, and the Wedding March, which Mendelssohn wrote for Midsummer's Nights Dream. Everyone knew the opening strains of Wagner's "Here Comes the Bride", also the gay Mendelssohn music which accompanies the wedding party as they march away from the altar. Thus was set the wedding's traditional musical entrance and exit, which has now been traditionally used now for over 100 years. In the early to mid 1800s wedding gowns were full with a puffed sleeve. With a waistline that would accentuated the brides hourglass figure. White bridal gowns were not always the choice of a bride in the 1800s. Note the dress to the right. This is a mod 1960s style.

1850s Wedding Gown - puffed sleeve, and well fitted waistline...

1850s Wedding Gown - Note the puffed sleeve, and fitted waistline...
1850s Wedding Gown - Note the puffed sleeve, and fitted waistline...

Traditions of 1860s "One Must Try To Out Do The Other"

Beginning in 1860, "Godey's Ladies Book" began to publish its first annual color spread of bridal costumes. The "Godey's Ladies Book " thereafter made this spread of bridal costumes a standard feature in each issue. In these published issues, it became apparent that bridesmaids sometimes also wore white, and that brides veil were more often light in color to add contrast to the brides outfit. In America, with its aristocracy of wealth. It soon became a trend among the wealthy, to make all attempts to out dazzle one another, when it came to the bride's trousseau.

The 1870s Diamonds Became Popular

In 1870 brides hope to receive an engagement ring that had diamonds, and pearls... Diamonds and pearls were coveted by almost every bride as the preferred engagement ring to receive . A trendy little bling that was suggestive of a diamond tiara across the finger. Engagement Rings Trends of Today. Couples get engaged everyday, girls dream of the perfect ring and wedding. Somethings will never change, but engagement ring trends do change.... pave settings,colored stones, baguettes ,as well and escher cut stones.

The Bling Had To Be In The Ring ... In the 1870s

"The ring must have diamonds and pearls too please "

The things that stand out in wedding pictures of the 1870s are the bustle, and the trend (away from gold) to all-white wedding jewelry. Diamonds, and pearls in combination were coveted by most bride. The preferred engagement ring of 1870s, was a halt loop styled ring, with five or six diamonds in a crown setting. Which was suggestive of a diamond tiara across the finger.

Weddings In The 1880's - It became Important To Document The Day With Photos

In this decade the family picture album became quite general throughout the land. Even our relatives who were farming the western prairies, took time out for a wedding photograph or two. George Eastman's Kodak camera also came on the market, and with it the opportunity for the informal snapshots to document a wedding with personal photos.

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Weddings From The 1890s - Home Weddings Were In Vogue

Let The Good Times Roll - Weddings Now became very joyous, and gay, And often held in the bride's home.

In contrast with the over-formality of the preceding decades, the 1890s were truly "gay." This stands revealed in the photographs of our relatives who married at that time. When before could the bride be caught -on her wedding day-up in a tree! Home rather than church weddings were coming back into favor, and our family photo album show some delightful informal photos of these family affairs, held at home. The wedding of the early 1800's was formal, with large bridal parties, held in church. In the late 1800's it went from having many bridesmaids, to smaller wedding parties, held in the family home.

Something Old

"Something Old" symbolizes a link to the bride's family, and their past. The item most often will be a family heirloom, that the bride will wear or carry on her wedding day. Perhaps a piece of jewelry or a hankie from Grandma. The bride may also choose to wear a family members wedding dress to honor, and represent an old object. "Something New" represents good fortune and success, for a wonderful new life. A bride may choose to say her shoes are new or use her wedding gown as the new item. Many choose to wear a new piece of jewelry. This newly purchased jewelry may then be handed down as "Something Old", to once future children. weddings. "Something Borrowed" symbolizes the love, and support of family and friends in times of need. A borrowed object can be a token from friend, such as a lace handkerchief. Again a wonderful piece of family jewelry, to be used just for the day. "Something Blue" is an object that symbolizes faithfulness, and loyalty. Most Brides will choose a blue garter or ribbon. Many have blue added to their flowers. "A Silver Sixpence In Her Shoe," is a blessing for wealth.

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Weddings In The 1900 Something old, something new -- something borrowed...

Something old, something new, something borrowed

This was the era of the Gibson Girl, and Arrow Collar Boy. The dawn of a new century. Our relatives married in that era wanted "something new" as well as "something old." New indeed was the diamond engagement ring, brides preferred a diamond solitaire in a, high gold-prong"Tiffany". The Tiffany solitaire setting-became America's favorite engagement ring, and remains a favorite even today. New also was the high pompadour be-ribboned hairdo, and the tie worn ascot fashion for the groom to wear on his special day. The "scarf pin-"bows made suitable inexpensive gifts for bridesmaids and ushers.

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Wedding History 1910 - The Decade of The New Woman...

The Bride Now Wore Long fitted Skirts, With Empire Waist

This was the decade when the "new woman" of suffragette equal rights was coming to the vogue; but with such a tradition-hallowed ceremony as marriage, all most brides thought about was the latest in wedding finery. Fashion decreed big "Merry Widow" hats, and the high waisted,long tight-skirted dresses.

Wedding History 1920s - Let's Elope !

Gone were many time-hallowed institutions-along with the corseted figure. The woman of the 1920s bared her legs.

Hip-hooray! The world has been made "safe for democracy" , and we in America had not a care in the world. Unlimited industrial production, increasing stock dividends, silk shirts for day laborers, chicken in every pot, and two cars in every garage. The spirit of these gay irresponsible times was carried over into many a wedding picture of the day... Informality, and more informality! Elopements galore, with a justice of the peace instead of a minister. Gone were many time-hallowed institutions-along with the corseted figure bridal gown. Now a girl could show her legs.

Jacqueline Kennedy's Wedding Dress

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Weddings Of The 1950s

Elaborate Church Weddings Were Now In Vogue.

The thing that marks weddings of this decade is the return of dignity. Elaborate church services have come back into vogue. The utmost in correct formal attire is expected not only of the bride, but also the groom, and his ushers. It is not uncommon for people of moderate circumstances to rent all the wedding costumes. But rented or owned, the attire is worn proudly, and form a cherished picture by all who view the affair.

So, Where Did The Tradition Of Throwing The Bouquet Come From?

Throwing the wedding bouquet dates back many centuries with its origins being in England.

So, have you ever been the one who caught the bouquet at the wedding?

Tossing the bouquet has been a long-standing tradition at many years. During the reception the bride will toss her bouquet among the single women that have attended the wedding. Whoever catches the bouquet is said to be the next woman who will marry.

The throwing of the bouquet by the bride is pretty standard at weddings. Most women have been at more than one wedding where the bride throws the bouquet. In fact, guests would be surprised if the bride did not throw her bouquet, at a wedding of today. However, even though this tradition is often expected, many guests probably do not know the history behind the throwing of the bouquet.

Throwing the wedding bouquet dates back many centuries, with its origins being in England. In England guests used to grab at the brides clothing, and flowers. They did so because they wanted to share in the joy , and happiness of the new bride. It would seem they thought a memento of sorts from the bride's dress or flowers would help to pass the joy on among the guests.

The brides used to be chases after by guests, and other observers of the wedding. The bride would try to protect her clothing, and escape the mad rush of people. It came to be that the bride would toss her bouquet of flowers into the crowd.

She did so in an attempt to please the people so that they would stop chasing her. Luckily the tradition of the bouquet is a little more civilized today, and perhaps more fun than it was back then.

There Are All Kinds Of Weddings?

What kind of wedding would you prefer?

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Wonderful Vintage Wedding Gowns

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Wedding Ring Trivia...

Some theorize the circlet is derived from fetters ( chain or shackle for the feet) worn by captive women in medieval times. While others accredit it to the exchange of tokens to signify good faith or friendship.

Whatever the origin, the wedding ring is certainly here to stay. Manufacturers have proof of the fact. Wide wedding bands, which are again popular, have their inspiration deep in history. The wide gold band ring became popular in Shakespeare time, they were of chased designs, and sentimental inscriptions were added to the in side of the band.

So, why is the wedding ring worn on the forth finger? The habit of wearing the wedding symbol on the fourth finger of the left hand is based upon a Grecian fable that the artery from that finger flows directly to ones heart. Scientist reject this theory, and claim there is no factual evidence to substantiate the theory.

During the Elizabethan era, the trend decreed that the wedding ring be worn on the thumb. Use of the wedding symbol was also evident in Egyptian culture, and it is present in the form of hieroglyphics on walls of ancient tombs archaeologists have discovered. Generally the Egyptian circlets were depicted as heavy metal bands, encrusted with precious or semiprecious stones.

However, history tells another story. Roman archaeologists reputed to have found only "ugly metal bands."

The Smallest wedding circlet (ring) is believed to have been made for Princess Mary, daughter of King Henry VIII. The Princes was betroth to the Dolphin of France, Sor. of King Francis I. The ceremony was performed Oct. 5, 1518. The princess was two years of age, and her spouse was born Feb. 28, 1518.

The ring came into use in Christian ceremonies about 870, authorities state, and was in use in biblical times by the Hebrews. Though fashion decreed trends towards narrow bands and introduced other whimsies, the gypsy always has held firm to tradition. The broadness and weight of the golden ring decrees and denotes the position of the gypsy couple in the tribe. The bigger and heavier the circlet, the bigger and better the standing of the wedded pair.

Before 1940-only 15% of the bridegrooms received rings. Then with the outbreak of World War II, the double ring ceremony increased to 6O %. With the Korean war the number increased to 70%.

The primitives considered an unmarried man as only half a man. The wedding circlet was indicative of the completion of both the life span of man and woman.

A Bit Of Trivia On The Wedding Cakes

Wedding cakes in the early 1900s began to be made of white cake, and white frosting. As a rule they were a one large layer cake, that would be decorated with real flowers. This was a big change from the typical wedding cakes of the 1800s, which were made of currant and nuts. Somewhat like our Christmas fruit cake of today, with a sugar glaze.

In the 1900s a grooms cake was also included in the wedding feast. The grooms cake was of the dark fruity nature, it was meant to last. You see the grooms cake was to be cut and wrapped, and single girls were to take it home to tuck under their pillow, for perhaps sweet dreams.

Vivian Leigh wore clinging white floor length satin.

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A Glimpse Into The Past -- The Wedding Gowns Of Hollywood Starlet's...

Vivian Hartley married "Leigh Holman ", a charming, educated, considerate, wonderfully mannered , Attorney at Law. It was said to be love at first sight.

They were married on 20th December 1932 at St. James, Spanish Place. She wore clinging white satin, her bridesmaids wore peach satin with puff sleeves and carried chrysanthemums.

Jean Harlow At Wedding To Paul Bern

Apparently, little planning went into the nuptials? Jean was did not even purchase a real wedding gown. She simply went into a dress shop that she frequented, and bought an off-the-rack! The dress was white with a cropped white fringed shawl. On July 2, 1932 the couple were married in" Bern's" home. They took one day off, and then returned to work the following day.

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Elizabeth Taylor's First Wedding Dress

Elizabeth starred as Kay Banks, in "Father Of The Bride" with Spencer Tracy being cast as her frustrated father, the movie was lighthearted, and a big hit at the box office, in 1950... At a mature eighteen years-old, Elizabeth's movie roll, and real life coincided.

"Father Of The Bride" when," was filmed shortly before her own marriage to "Nicky Hilton."

Sadly -- the couple were divorced after only nine months

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A Very Royal Wedding ...

Grace Kelly weds Prince Rainier Of Monaco April 19th, 1956

Grace Kelly had six bridesmaids, and the matron of honor. All dressed in yellow organdy dresses. Six junior attendants - four girls in white dresses, and two boys in white satin breeches. Grace was walked down the aisle by her father, Jack. She would await Rainier at the altar.

Rainier wore a Monegasque uniform. Grace wore a gown courtesy of MGM's resident costume designer "Helen Rose", the dress could not have been more"regal". The high-necked, long-sleeved gown was fitted through the torso, and made of lace, it came to Grace's tiny waist where it erupted into a billowing full skirt. The wedding dress was made of hundreds of yards of the highest quality silk taffeta,and the lace was that of peau de soie, tulle and lace. Her head was a Juliet cap, decorated with seed pearls, and a veil made from some ninety yards of tulle.

Audrey Hepburn & Mel Ferrer Wed

Hepburn met Mel Ferrer at a party given by Gregory Peck. She had first seen him in the film "Lili", and was captivated by not only his looks, but his performance. Ferrer later sent Hepburn the script for the play "Ondine", and Hepburn agreed to the role. Rehearsals started in January 1954, Hepburn and Ferrer were married on Sep, 25th 1954....

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Sharon Tate Weds Roman Polanski

On January 20th, 1968, Roman and Sharon married in a highly publicized wedding in London. She worn an oh-so beautiful little mini dress.

In December 1968, Sharon discovered that she was pregnant. She knew that Roman, would not accept bringing a child into the world. Due to his childhood memories of running from Nazis. She hid the pregnancy until January. After he heard the news, he was actually very happy, and looked forward to the birth of their child.

On February 12th, 1969 Sharon and Roman moved into their "love house" at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon. Where Sharon kept busy getting ready for the birth of the couple's first child.

On August 9th, Sharon, and her unborn child, were murdered by members of the "Manson Family."

Bridal Shower Trivia Game

I hope you will enjoy this little Bridal Shower game. Its designed for all you History buffs. I hope if you are planning a Bridal Shower - you will include this short fun game in your festivities.

To visit this page please visit my Profile page to locate page.

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    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      I very much enjoyed this lens> Thanks so much!

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      I love fashions, and I really love looking at fashions from yesteryear. Thanks!

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      WeddingBee4u 3 years ago

      Speaking of old trends versus new trends...

      So I have noticed a trend lately. Many women seem to be moving towards hand engraved wedding bands versus the normal diamond rings that are more traditionally bought. Is this a trend anyone else is seeing? Is it a statement that says women are working harder and do not want to knock their diamonds out? Or maybe the value of the diamond in the ring is not as important as the meaning of the ring anymore? I would like to hear thoughts on this from the ladies...

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      fcinternetmarketing 3 years ago

      Wow !!!

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      ginajojo 4 years ago

      It's beautiful collection and you have to see Egyptian weeding dress in 1850-1950 and our tradition too i know you will like it

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Lots of useful information here. Great lens.

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      celticharpmusic 4 years ago

      Great information! Wonderful article!

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      PrettyandSmart 4 years ago

      I'd love to have a posh wedding!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Really neat article! thank you :)

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      Namymartyn 5 years ago

      Looks great...............

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      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      These wedding traditions are so inspirational.

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      tiffany2708 5 years ago

      great lens! very interesting information

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      The modern concept of marriage ceremony ceremony can be knowledgeable by means of the informal wedding invitation wording. By doing this way, you could have informed the visitors about what kind of celebration you will hold. So people should take time for preparing there wedding ceremony wordings. bridal shower invitation wording

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      i LOVE this lens. You did so much research with each time period and I love vintage weddings. So classic! Thanks for sharing all this information, I loved reading about traditions of the past.

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      quicpost 6 years ago

      Wonderful and educational...thanks for such a great article.

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      SusanCramer 6 years ago

      Great lens.. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good works

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      scar4 6 years ago

      I'm happy to know the information, lol, lol. Sparkling all around!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      It is so great to see person who know a lot about stuff like this and giving us some nice reading

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      julitark 6 years ago

      thank you for great lense!

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      RichardHammond 6 years ago

      The wedding traditions shared here are awesome!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is a very good resource of wedding traditions.

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      nortonpatricia99 6 years ago

      Nice lens! Great ideas!

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      Gorgeous_Wedding 7 years ago

      Very interesting content and pictures, refreshing and unique!

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      This is fantastic! Thank you for creating it :) Free Fun Stuff!

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      WorldTravelers916 8 years ago

      if i ever get engaged im never letting my wife do what she wants, its going to be a joint decision!

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      Jasonb702 8 years ago

      Great lens Shar... Keep up the good work..

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      WorldTravelers916 8 years ago

      i love old traditions like this for weddings!

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      Keaka77 8 years ago

      Great lens.. THanks for all the good info. Im about to get married and this really helps.

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      the-secret 9 years ago

      I enjoyed reading about wedding traditions. I've got 2 wedding sites you might like to see. They are a compilation of wedding and wedding shower videos.

      Planning A Wedding Shower and Steps To Planning A Wedding

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      Beautifully done, 5 stars is not enough!

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      JuliaSm 9 years ago

      I have really enjoyed the show and learned more from reading here. 5 stars from me! These lenses can be interesting for you Wedding Nail Art, Beautiful Wedding Hairstyles. Pleae rate my lenses too.

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      leslielewis 9 years ago

      If I could I will rate your lens with 10 stars! :) but only 5*.

      I invite you to Wedding Fashion group.

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      coollikeme 9 years ago

      Very informative lens

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      Great lens. So much information and a pleasure to read.

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      Amazing!! Words are less to define the goodness of your work.

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      Catalogbrasfinds 9 years ago

      This lens was absolutly wonderful!

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      ChickMagnet101 9 years ago

      Hey Shar~

      Great lens! I really enjoyed your "wedding traditions" lens. I've rated it 5 stars!

      Keep up the great work!: First Date Tips.

    • profile image

      ChickMagnet101 9 years ago

      Hey Shar~

      Great lens! I really enjoyed your "wedding traditions" lens. I've rated it 5 stars!

      Keep up the great work!: First Date Tips.

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      If I wasn't married I'd buy one. Why are the only comments from MEN! Great Lens!

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      SOLIXTAdotCOM 9 years ago

      You have created a beautiful lense and great reading as well.

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      Acne_Medicine 10 years ago

      excellent lens. I can see you have put a lot and time and thought into the material presents. Keep up the good work. Thanks from Acne Medicine Guy.

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      ridi2buy 10 years ago

      What a fantastic lens. I've enjoyed the history greatly!

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      What a well researched and well written article indeed. Writer should write a book on this. Cheers!

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