Green’s Dictionary of Slang

gig-lamps n.

[SE gig-lamps, the two lights placed to either side of a gig or light carriage]

1. (also gig, gigs, jig-lamps, lamps) spectacles; thus a nickname for one who wears spectacles.

[UK]E. Bradley [i.e. ‘Cuthbert Bede’] in Letter to J. C. H. n.p.: Gig-lamps (certainly a university term. I first heard it in 1848 or 1849, long before Mr. Verdant Green was born or thought of) [F&H].
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 23 Feb. 3/1: Mr. Brockatayn, a regular ‘gig’ or, as Theodore Hook used to call a real living encasements for optics, ‘a gig with lamps,’ was defendant.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) I 22: Looks ferociously mild in his gig-lamps. [Ibid.] 76: Holloa, Gig-lamps, is that you ill-treating the dead languages?
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[UK]G.A. Sala My Diary in America II 33: Some men had a passion for seeing ‘gig-lamps’ on the nasal bone of those they admire.
[UK]Western Dly Press 24 Jan. 4/1: A plaintiff [...] claiming the price of some red herrings from a man with weak eyesight, may facetiously describe him as ‘Peter Thomas alias Giglamps’.
[UK]Leeds Times 20 June 3/2: He rather thought [...] we should look conspicuous, don’t you know, if we went as we were (there is no small beer about Giglamps!).
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 140: You with the giglamps, throw us your cigar.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Woman Rights’ in Punch 2 Apr. 156/2: No, this lot didn’t shriek or wear gig-lamps.
[UK]‘F. Anstey’ Voces Populi 167: Stop, though, suppose she has spotted me? Never can tell with giglamps ... better not risk it.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Feb. 11/2: [J]ust as ’Arry is telling Mary Han what a regular devil he is, two pairs of gig-lamps are fixed on him and a voice like a rat-tail file says: ‘Young people, will you take a tract?’.
[NZ]Taranaki Herald (NZ) 23 Dec. 7/4: His astygmatic ‘gig-lamps’ on his purple proboscis.
[US]C. Connors Bowery Life [ebook] De old bloke pulled out er pair uv gig-lamps an’ put ’em on, an’ den he give me er grate sizin’ up.
[Aus]Truth (Melbourne) 31 Jan. 6/1: One old juggins, with gold-rimmed gig-lamps and a bulge like a barrel.
[UK]Kemmel Times 3 July (2006) 107/2: In what O.P. do his gig-lamps shine?
[US]G.H. Mullin Adventures of a Scholar Tramp 239: Hey, youse with the gig-lamps!
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Jig lamps, eye glasses.
[UK]Derby Dly Teleg. 2 June 4/6: Lowk at Tome Grane i’ glasses. Tay your gig-lamps off Tom.
[UK]I. & P. Opie Lore and Lang. of Schoolchildren (1977) 192: The supposedly brainy young ’tec in the Eagle strip ‘P.C.49’ was known as ‘Gigs’ (1956) [...] The term ‘giglamps’ for spectacles [...] is on the wane, and few people now are nicknamed ‘Giglamps’ for wearing them (as Kipling was at Westward Ho!).
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 81: He takes off his gigs and gives them a wipe then opens his window.

2. (US) jewellery; thus gig-lamped adj., wearing jewellery.

[US]S. Crane ‘Diamonds and Diamonds’ in Stallman (1966) 174: The fat person gazed down at the ring [...] ‘How’s that for a gig-lamp?’ He pushed the trinket over the bar.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 285: We made money hand over fist, got all the gig-lamps out of hock [...] We were fully $300 to the good, outside of the jewellery we’d redeemed. [Ibid.] 256: He was [...] gig-lamped and togged to the limit.
[US]Inter Ocean (Chicago) 25 Jan. 34/4: Not even in the half-on-the-level plants was it esteemed the proper quirk to let a soused man push over his gig-lamps for chips.

3. a person wearing spectacles.

[US]Courier (Lincoln, NE) 20 May 6/2: Bighead— Dr Briggs cannot swallow th story of Jonah and the whale. Giglamps— Well, there are lots of people that can’t swallow Briggs.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Feb. 11/2: Every week these gig-lamps report progress to a company of other hard-faced people with similar green spectacles, and tell the Horrid Things they have seen.
[NZ]R. Morrieson Pallet on the Floor 49: That half-wit giglamp ‘Spud’ McGhee.

4. eyes.

[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ Down the Line 59: ‘Will you have the kindness to escort me to a car?’ she said, giving me the glittering gig-lamps.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ You Should Worry cap. 5: Dike carefully closed one eye and focussed the other on her. [...] Then he turned the open gig-lamp on me and began again.
[UK]J. Franklyn This Gutter Life 285: One o’ the ugliest bogeys from the Yard has got his gig-lamps on me!
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Broken melody’ in Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective Dec. [Internet] Like a sap, I took my lamps off you for a minute.