How Did Vintage Eyewear Get Its Name?

March 15, 2023 Published by Leave your thoughts

When you hear the term Vintage Eyewear, you might think it refers to old-fashioned eyeglasses. But that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, many of the most popular retro styles are based on frames that were originally designed decades ago. Learn more about how these frames got their names and why they’re becoming so popular in the millennial world. 

The history of early vintage eyewear is a long one. Until about the 1600s, eyeglasses were simply rudimentary circular lenses with rivets that were attached to the bridge of the nose. They were fashioned in leather or wood and became known as Pince-nez Spectacles. As technology improved, the glasses frames and lenses changed as well, becoming thinner and more comfortable. The first optometrists offered rudimentary vision tests and worked with glassblowers to create lenses that fit their patients’ needs. 

As the 19th century dawned, glasses were mass produced, making them easier to wear than ever before. These frames could be made from a wide variety of materials, including metals, alloys, and wire. During this period, glasses developed into hands free styles with temples that extended over the ears. These styles included pince nez, lorgnette and rimless designs. Lenses were also developed that were able to correct astigmatism. These special cylindrical lenses were a big advancement over the traditional round lenses that most people wore before. These new lenses made it possible for people with astigmatism to get eyeglasses that corrected their vision without requiring surgery.  

And as the 1940s approached, more affordable, customizable plastics became widely available and were used in frames of all shapes and sizes. This allowed styles like vintage cat eyeglasses, browline glasses and horn-rimmed glasses to gain popularity. In the 1950s, plastic frames became the dominant material for both men’s and women’s glasses. This opened up opportunities for vintage eyewear to become as much fashion accessories as they were vision aids. 

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