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The Vintage Optical Shop

  • Style, Comfort, and Coated Windsor Vintage Eyeglass Frames

    Posted on August 25, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Though style and comfort sometimes collide head-on – and given the peculiarities of the human psyche, it is unclear which of the two will emerge victorious in a specific “struggle” – Windsor Vintage eyeglass frames often show a blending of both stylistic and comfort considerations from their earliest days. Constructed out of narrow wires, almost [...]


    This post was posted in Windsor Glasses

  • The Emergence of Windsor Glasses

    Posted on August 22, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    The 19th century was a fertile time for the creation of new antique eyeglasses styles in America, as well as innumerable variants on existing configurations; pince nez were first made in this era, and Windsor glasses, which survive in use to this day, also put in their first appearance in the 1800s.
    This period was probably [...]


    This post was posted in Windsor Glasses

  • Tortoiseshell Vintage Glasses and Cases in Late 19th Century America

    Posted on August 20, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Tortoiseshell is an exquisitely beautiful substance and was popular as a material for vintage glasses for several centuries – tortoiseshell glasses also appeared in later 19th century America. The shell actually comes from the hawksbill sea turtle, and not a tortoise – an unfortunate use for a rare and remarkable creature, though one which, at [...]


    This post was posted in Turn Of The Century

  • American Vintage Sunglasses in the 19th Century

    Posted on August 11, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Sunglasses have had a surprisingly long history, dating back to the boundary of the Medieval era and the Renaissance, and the American vintage sunglasses in the 19th century are the continuation of a long tradition of tinted, sun-defeating lenses for the comfort of those outdoors in the summer glare. Venice was a center of production [...]


    This post was posted in Turn Of The Century

  • The Emergence of American 19th Century Eyeglasses on the World Stage

    Posted on July 25, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    For centuries, the American continent was decidedly junior to Europe in the manufacture of both eyeglass lenses and the antique eyeglasses themselves, but this changed with the high quality 19th century eyeglasses which were fashioned in the New World. The earliest days of the Colonies were obviously too hardscrabble and technically primitive to sustain a [...]


    This post was posted in Pince Nez

  • Civil War Spectacles – the Hand of Bausch & Lomb

    Posted on July 18, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    When considering Civil War spectacles, it is perhaps ironic that the man who did more than any other American entrepreneur to create the immense popularity of pince nez glasses and their successors, Oxfords – John Jacob Bausch, an immigrant from Germany who arrived in the United States with the superior manufacturing techniques of the Old [...]


    This post was posted in Pince Nez

  • The Furor Over Black Ribbon on Vintage Eyewear

    Posted on July 4, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Today, when people wear vintage eyewear such as pince nez glasses from the late 19th or early 20th centuries, they almost always make use of the ribbon loop or handle that almost always appears on the lower side of one eyerim. This projection can range from a simple loop molded seamlessly into the metal fabric [...]


    This post was posted in Pince Nez

  • Civil War Glasses and the Warrior's Pince Nez

    Posted on June 27, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Despite the early 20th century belief at that pince nez were “delicate” and “ladylike”, pince nez were simultaneously associated with one of the world's most manly callings, that of the warrior or soldier, as in the example of Civil War glasses. As with other human stylistic choices, it was quite possible for people to reconcile [...]


    This post was posted in Pince Nez

  • Pince Nez – the Early Social History of Old Fashioned Glasses

    Posted on June 21, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    After their rough start in America when John Jacob Bausch (one of the founding partners of Bausch & Lomb, a major eyeglass firm which survives to this day) first made a pair of hoop springs with vulcanized rubber, pince nez quickly rose to a quite eminent position among old fashioned glasses.
    The American Civil War first [...]


    This post was posted in Pince Nez

  • Overview: the Amazing World of Cat eye Glasses

    Posted on June 4, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Released from the fetters of stodginess by the changing times, it is perhaps hardly surprising that eyeglasses would explode into an efflorescence of colorful materials and ornate designs when they became fashionable for the first time in history. Cat eye glasses are one of the most memorable, persistent styles from that day and dominated the [...]


    This post was posted in In the beginning

  • Cat Eye Prescription Glasses by Art-Craft and Bausch & Lomb

    Posted on June 4, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    The finely made aluminum cat eye prescription glasses frames that Tura made at the start of the 1950s were initially a unique product of the American eyeglasses market at a time when other companies were using only small bands and slips of aluminum for decorative purposes on brows or temples. Durable, strong, and hypoallergenic, aluminum [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

  • Cat Eyeglasses and Rodenstock's Technical Improvements

    Posted on May 26, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    The cat eyeglasses through which Sophia Loren directs a smoldering gaze in a 1960 Rodenstock ad are tinted to serve as sunglasses, but conceal a technical advance as well as providing a mysterious look to the famous actress's eyes. Rodenstock had been a precision lens manufacturer for over 80 years when the advertisement and the [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

  • Rodenstock Cat Eyed Glasses from the 1950s and 1960s

    Posted on May 26, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Some tales from the world of eyeglass history illustrate how a single hard-driving individual with a strong, relentless personality can alter the course of vintage eyeglasses history. Michael Birch's rise during the 1950s is an excellent example of a newcomer's potential for sudden success in the field of cat eyed glasses, as the failed ice [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

  • Ian Prince's Interchangeable cats eye glasses from the Fifties

    Posted on May 25, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Vintage eyeglasses designers, just like their modern counterparts, have striven to offer something new and different to their clientele with each release. In doing so, they have created a fascinating panoply of styles, gimmicks, and quirky details which immensely enrich the history of vintage eyewear and reveal the endless eccentricity of which the human mind [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

  • Tura Cateye Glasses and the Use of Aluminum Frames

    Posted on May 25, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Beginning as the offshoot of a Madison Avenue fancy eyewear dispensary, Tura Inc. became one of the major American producers of high quality cateye glasses during the mid-20th century. The bold decision to make cast metal frames – particularly aluminum – on the part of the firm's founder, Monroe Levoy, gave the eyewear a distinctive [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

  • Tura Cat Eye Eyeglasses – the American Contribution

    Posted on May 25, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Though some American made vintage cat eye eyeglasses from the Fifties and Sixties had a reputation for very poor quality – such as those produced by Polaroid – Tura made a series of glasses that were the match of any foreign fashions from Austria, Germany, France, or England. Tura produced some of the sturdiest and [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

  • The Teutonic Influence of Viennaline Retro Eyeglasses

    Posted on May 24, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    The enterprising Englishman Michael Birch has plenty of highly effective competition to keep him on his toes – including the Viennaline brand originating in Austria. Wilhelm Anger, the founder of the brand, was every bit as colorful and hard-driving as Birch.
    Anger was further aided by the design genius of a fellow named Udo Proksch, who [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

  • Retro Glasses from the Michael Birch Group

    Posted on May 24, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Retro Glasses from the Michael Birch Group
                Michael Birch and his consortium of companies continued to be a powerful force in the development of retro glasses during the 1960s. Cat eye glasses were still immensely popular during this period, so many of the glasses made during this time have that overall effect. There are also [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

  • Notable Cat Eye Glasses Achievements of Birch & Green

    Posted on May 9, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Birch & Green, the British eyeglass company that was founded by the hot-tempered, creative Michael Birch in the early 1950s, started out relatively small but soon grew quite influential throughout the British Isles and the rest of the world.
    Since many of the company's most successful and famous eyeglasses were cat eye glasses, and since Michael [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

  • Michael Birch and Cat Eye Glasses Frames in the 1950s

    Posted on May 9, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    One of the most fascinating aspects of the history of vintage eyeglasses – besides all the strange, fantastic shapes and creative designs produced over the years – is the association of various eccentric people with the world of vintage eyewear. Benjamin Franklin, with his sturdy aphorisms, scientific curiosity, and somewhat devil-may-care youth, added a touch [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

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