The Dipple & Conway Archive Collection: 1930

1st March 2016
Man wearing vintage glasses from 1930


The spectacle styles of the 1930s were still predominantly unisex and included horn-rimmed, metal and rimless frames. During this period, whilst women with impaired vision were advised to wear spectacles for practical purposes, glasses were considered unflattering for ladies and definitely not worn as a fashion statement.

Horn-rimmed spectacle frames were still prevalent and, whilst glasses were still being made out of real horn or tortoiseshell, cheaper alternatives were now available in dark plastic. The plastic frames were dyed and moulded to imitate the natural pattern in the horn or shell. Designed without nose pads, the spectacle frame sat directly on the face causing frequent wearers to complain of discomfort in the nose bridge and eye area.

The lighter weight rimless frame was also a feature of the 1930s, with components made of silver and gold. This style of spectacles is still popular today.

Metal frames also became prevalent during the art deco period, with opulent frames made from silver and 12-carat gold plated nickel. Cheaper versions were made from plain nickel.

By the 1930s sunglasses had grown in popularity. Although tinted lenses were available early in spectacle manufacturing, it was not until 1913 that Sir William Crookes created a lens capable of absorbing both ultraviolet and infrared light. Further advances in sunglass design were accomplished in order to meet the needs of military pilots in World War II. The best known of these was the ‘Ray-Ban’ lens. As a result, manufacturers began to market sunglasses that were both practical and fashionable.

Posted by Dipple Conway

"I’m very impressed by the friendly and helpful attitude of the staff at Dipple and Conway, and by the very competent and professional service my optometrist provided. It really is a pleasure to ones eyes tested there."

Mike Lindsay
Optician Awards Finalist Investor in People The College of Optometrists British Contact Lens Association Association of Dispensing Opticians Best Family Business 2020

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