One of the most frequent topics coming into the workshop at FRAMEFIXERS.COM is the removal and installation of lenses in vintage plastic frames.
Whether the frame is going to get plain clear lenses so that they can act as stylish accessory to an outfit, or a lovable sunglass for sunny days, or possibly a straight magnification reader set of lenses or even a true prescription lens in single or progressive vision, they all require that the old lenses be safely removed, and new lenses installed without damaging the vintage plastic frame.
The most challenging problem seems to be solid glass lenses which are in a vintage frame and must be removed.
A safe and reliable technique is to cover the lens with a heavy industrial tape which is then cut to copy the perimeter exactly. Then, using a steel dopping block and a dopping ball, the lens is shattered with a single strike into the center with the curvature of the lens facing downward so as to prevent any point of the frame making contact.
To insert the new lens, a gentle trial fit accompanied by some careful excavation of the channel and the use of strips of the tear proof plasticized sheets from a tear proof mailing envelope will glide the lens into place without stressing any one point on the frame.
The key to a successful removal of a glass lens is to shatter it directly in the center while safely avoiding any contact with the frame. The key to a successful insertion of a new lens into a vintage plastic frame is to avoid stressing any one point through careful trial fitting, lens trimming and channel excavation followed by the assistance of the glide ribbon as mentioned.
Framefixers.com and Do It Yourself Eyeglass Repair
Eyeglasses Repair Emergencies
At FRAMEFIXERS.COM we acknowledge the fact that eyeglass repair emergencies can and do happen, and we respect the creative ways in which some customers make a creative and temporary repair to their important eyewear.
For example, check out what is possibly one of the most creative ways I’ve seen someone conduct a quick fix for glasses repair!
Just like emergency car repair, there are certain things you can do to temporarily keep you from being stranded, and then there are those things that you should never do and just leave it to the professionals.
Just in case you’ve decided to admit defeat and send in your glasses, here’s our phone number for free estimates!
For Framefixers Professional Repair, mail your broken glasses to us, follow link for instructions: Mailing Labels
Lost eyeglass screws
Screws are a very frequent source of problems, but fortunately, if it is really just the screw that has fallen out of an otherwise intact hinge assembly or nosepad cup, and you still have the temple arm or nosepad ready to go back in, we recommend a small paperclip. A small paperclip will be made form a narrow gauge of wire that will go into the threaded hole without damaging the screw threads, and you can then fold the paperclip over itself lie a letter “J” and then over again to make an “O” and you should be able to wear them until you can get to an Optical Shop.
Or you can try a toothpick like this fellow, who also gives out financial advise while repairing his glasses with toothpicks. Sorry folks, no financial advise on Framefixers.com other than reasonable prices on eyewear repair.
Broken hinges are another matter, and a paper clip will not suffice. However, a pipe cleaner, wrapped around the body of the temple arm near where it broke off, and then around the frame edge, will at least get you going, rather than trying to drive with out vision. We see that tape is a frequent attempt, but even the famous Duct Tape just does not seem to want to hold for small eyeglass parts as soon as the wearers body warms it up.
Depending on the dimensions of your eyeglass frame, and where it broke, a round plastic soda straw can work if you slide the temple arm into it, and then slide the open end over the hinged assembly. This actually works fairly frequently with today’s smaller wire-like frames, especially titanium minimal frames.
If you leave this blog article with one lesson, it’s that you do not want to use is Superglue to repair glasses. Superglue, even when it is dry, very much like home insulation foam, gives off a corrosive gas. Not only will it permanently damage lenses, some people have an allergic reaction to it just being near their eyes, even when it is fully dry, that produces tiny water blisters on the membranes of the eyeball. This is one where you really should not take a chance. Try to find a non-chemical mechanical way to put your pieces together until a professional can make an appropriate and permanent repair.
Shrink tubing glasses repair
Shrink tubing is a very tempting choice for a temporary fix. We have without question seen well used and well affixed heat shrink tubing shrunk-wrapped on to a broken temple hinge, and we admire the creativity and skill it took to do it. However, we have also seen heat shrink tubing where the plastic temple arm caught in fire during the heating process, and the result are not pretty. Also, we have seen a heat shrink tubing attempt where the lens surface took a blister or burn from the heat of the flame.
Once again we say…we admire a good creative temporary repair as much as the next person, but try something at room temperature that is not a chemical or glue, that holds things together without damaging the parts.
If Glasses Repair Is Not An Option
If you end up deciding to get new glasses, maybe you can at least have a little fun with it like this guy and let a few thousand of your closest friends help you pick out your next frames!
Of all the various eyewear designs to rise to the level of an iconic style, the Aviator is arguably one of the most widespread and most commonly seen images in the eyeglass world of design.
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Like many designs, the Aviator began from diverse origins in the eyewear manufacturing world. The beneficial characteristic that pushed this configuration forward was its dual egg shaped lenses, which provided an unmatched level of protection against sunlight. It also however, lent itself to a broad field of correction which even in a tri-focal prescription, gave the wearer a very generous field of corrected vision at any distance. These two very practical applications, together with its distinct recognizable appearance and the efforts of certain key manufacturers to produce an optical product for the military at the time of the second World War, led to a huge production of Aviator based designs.
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The twin egg design, with the tops slightly canted inward at the top, gave pilots substantial protection again squint reflex fatigue while flying. Designers at Bausch & Lomb in Rochester New York launched a series of Aviator designs in the late 1930s which evolved very quickly into the classic Ray Ban Aviator. While American Optical, Varnue, Persol, Porsche Design and others all had their own version in the market, the advertising and support provided by B & L drove their designs into Military PX stores, sporting good stores, and the fashion industry took notice in a way that has never waned. Other designers began housing the Aviator style lenses in plastic, nylon, laminated composites and even wood.
The evolving design of the Bausch & Lomb line led to one of the most recognizable and seminal designs in eyewear history, the full mask Bausch & Lomb Wings. This took the two egg shaped lenses to a logical advancement of coverage and protection and generated one single lens that went across the entire face with an uninterrupted mask of a lens held only at its edges. Bausch & Lomb printed its entire name on the front left edge of this product together with the name “Wings”. This was a substantial increase in brand naming and promotion for the traditionally conservative optical company whose early examples of the Ray Ban Aviator only have a very faint “BL” floating almost invisibly inside one edge of the right lens. It can be argued that the Bausch & Lomb Wing design was the origin of the countless full mask sunglass craze that became the bejeweled prize possession of wearers of Dior, Dolce Gabana, Versace and Bulgari and countless lesser brands.
So to fully describe Bausch and Lomb’s pinnacle design, we would have to focuses on the 1960 to 2000 examples of the Ray Ban Aviator, The eyeglass was predominantly a sunglass, which at time was marketed as not being of use for prescription wear. The two egg shaped lenses, canted in at the top were full frame surrounds with channel retention. The two sides were affixed with twin cross bars at the center. In the basic models, these were two plain wire spans, welded to the channel edges in two tiers above the nose. Later models like the “shooter” had a single circle of metal similar to the cross bars but formed in a circle welded to the cross road of the channel edges and the cross bars. This provided a very stiff and rugged frame that was outstandingly durable. These models could be found with either cable coil end temples or straight “golf” tip temple arms. Another variation on the basic Aviator was the “Outdoorsman” which added a plastic sweat bar to the top cross bar to act as a cushion against the frame being pushed back against the face , and acted to keep a certain amount of perspiration on the forehead from dropping down into the eyes. Models were also developed with leather side shields and edge covers around the lenses.
In the “golden era” of the production of this product at the 104 plant in Rochester New York, the frame was made in 1/10th 12K rolled yellow gold plate, and was assembled using genuine plumb gold solder. The lenses, most commonly a dark forest green referred to as B & L G-15 Green showed a pleasing contrast with the metal color. There were yellow, amber, blue and even photo-chromic lenses produced in lesser quantities. Later, white gold and even black models were produced, but the memorable image of a B& L Aviator in gleaming yellow gold with green lenses, together with it’s brown cow grain leather snap button case has left an indelible mark on the memory of the eyewear design market.
Today, one can not pick up a copy of 20/20 magazine, or Vision Monday or Vanity Fair without seeing at least one example of a descendant of this long lived and much loved style.