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The Vintage Optical Shop

  • 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

  • Striking Prescription Cat Eye Glasses with Matching Temples

    Posted on May 4, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    The uptilted eyerim style became so popular among women during the 1950s and 1960s that many prescription cat eye glasses were also made, besides the glamorous (and protective) sunglasses of this style, and those which were worn with clear lenses purely for fashionable or aesthetic reasons. Prescription cat eye glasses were sometimes relatively plain, but [...]


    This post was posted in In the beginning, Cat eye glasses

  • Cats Eye Glasses Brows – Plastic Laminates, Appliques, and Rhinestones

    Posted on May 4, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

                Metal brows were not the only possibility that designers explored while making vintage cats eye glasses during the 1950s and 1960s – indeed, there are so many different patterns, combinations of materials, colors, and textures, and other variants on the brow idea that it would likely take several volumes [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

  • Laminated Brows and Glitter – Two Ways of Decorating Cats Eye Glasses

    Posted on May 3, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Cats eye glasses were designed for one main purpose – to make a type of glasses that would look attractive when worn, besides being practical pieces of eyewear (or, with tinted lenses, serve as sunglasses – which, with their role of preventing damage to the eye from the searing glare of the summer sun, can [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

  • Vintage Cat Eye Glasses with Brows

    Posted on May 3, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Vintage Cat eye glasses became increasingly popular as a feminine style in the 1950s and 1960s, in keeping with the new view of glasses as a glamorous and attractive fashion accessory. Now that needing vision correction had become acceptable in the mainstream (rather than a source of contempt and mockery), people threw themselves wholeheartedly into [...]


    This post was posted in Cat eye glasses

  • Antique and Modern Matrix Glasses

    Posted on April 18, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    One of the most famous films made in the past several decades which featured a form of pince nez are the Matrix movies, featuring a bizarre, almost Gnostic view of the world in which our perceived reality is a duplicitous computer-generated illusion, and the real world is a storm-wracked wasteland inhabited by murderous robots. One [...]


    This post was posted in In the beginning

  • Oxford Glasses – the Evolved hoop spring pince nez

    Posted on April 18, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

                Hoop spring pince nez, one of the most practical types of antique eyeglasses without temple from a contemporary viewpoint, eventually gave rise to Oxford glasses. These pince nez appeared in the later 19th century and continued in use until the wearing of this style of glasses gradually fell out of favor after the First [...]


    This post was posted in Pince Nez

  • The Many Varieties of Pince Nez Sunglasses

    Posted on April 18, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Sunglasses seem to our modern perspective to be a completely contemporary phenomenon – it is difficult for most of us to imagine their use before the Second World War. Nevertheless, various kinds of non-optical, tinted lenses have been in use to protect against the glaring rays of the sun since the era of Shakespeare. Originally [...]


    This post was posted in Pince Nez

  • Hoop Spring Pince Nez Reading Glasses

    Posted on April 18, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Among the antique eyeglasses which lack temples and keep their place with their grip on the nose, hoop spring pince nez reading glasses are another comfortable, practical variety which often make the most of pince nez minimalism for both appearance and ergonomics' sake.
    The defining feature of these pince nez reading glasses (or other types of [...]


    This post was posted in Pince Nez

  • Hard Bridge Pince Nez Glasses from Olden Days

    Posted on April 18, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Few types of eyewear have multiplied into as many variants as pince nez glasses, which evolved a moment when humanity had reached a high level of technical competence in the manufacture of glass, steel, and rubber, permitting a diverse number of “solutions” to keeping these glasses on the nose, but when commercial and scientific uniformity [...]


    This post was posted in Pince Nez

  • Hard Rubber Pince Nez and the American Civil War

    Posted on April 18, 2012 by The Vintage Optical Shop

    Many of the changes in the American eyeglass and spectacle scene seem to have been intimately tied to the rattle of muskets and the thunder of cannon. Large scale American manufacture of lenses (as opposed to vintage eyeglass frames) began at the time of the War of 1812, when supplies of lenses from Europe were [...]


    This post was posted in Pince Nez

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