Following my blog post about my new favourite vintage glasses specialist, Spex Pistols, I thought I would share a little post about my advice on how to get the most out of your old glasses. Getting the chance to see behind the scenes and lens my own spectacles at the shop thanks to guru optician and Spex Pistols owner Richard was a true dream for me — I never new how lenses were added to frames before and here I am making up my own set for my awesome 50’s wing tips. Happy Days!!
Buying worn vintage glasses can be tricky business. I’ve come across many in charity shops and fairs that are sadly too far gone to be saved. If you’re looking to invest in some, my best advice is to start by looking at the hinges to see that they are clean of rust and cracks and mechanically still working. Pins to hold them together can easily be replaced, so don’t fret if they’re worn.
Then you need to check how they sit. The glasses I bought in the picture above were bent out of shape like someone had sat on them. Sad face!! But if you take them to a pro like Richard, they can be saved. This machine heats up the plastic by blowing ridiculously hot air on them. When up to temperature, the plastic bends fairly easily, meaning they can be bent back into shape and worn like they’re good as new. Pretty damn sweet, right? But beware, don’t try this at home because old hot plastic snaps easily!
So I have pretty poor eyesight and I was worried that my prescription wouldn’t fit the old frames. Old school opticians would measure each lens and shape them by hand, which is hardcore (this is actually how Richard started out in this business), but now you can do everything electronically. Finding glasses with old lenses in them is a great thing because they can be popped out and traced to create the exact match for the frames. One machine mesures the length, depth and width, then the information is fed to a second machine where your lenses are heated up and shaved down to size. It takes all of 2 minutes and the results are so accurate you don’t need to fret about a thing 🙂
The last thing I’ve found with old frames is that often the little plastic protective sleeve on the legs that sits on your ear can often be cracked and in bad condition with age. These can easily be slipped off and replaced with new ones too, another fact that I’ve just discovered. No more taping them for me! It’s a bit of a fiddle to get the new plastic on, so again I would leave it to a professional rather than trying to fiddle with it yourself, but it’s definitely worth investing in. At the end of the day, a few quid and a bit of TLC can really transform a pair of down and out specs into a pair that will last another lifetime!
By rule of thumb, always store your glasses in a cool, dry place. The better you preserve the plastics the longer they’ll last, so make sure you keep them in a glasses case whenever you’re not wearing them and never do anything silly like leaving them on the dash of your car because you could warp them in the heat. And never put them on the top of your head to fix your make up either – they’ll get gunked up with hair product and you’ll be putting strain on the legs and hinges – you don’t want them to bend out of place or snap! Make sure you put them down somewhere safe and folded correctly whenever they’re off. Treat your specs with respect and they’ll be your friend for life!
Hope you find my advice useful lovelies! If you have any questions I’ll do my best to find you some answers, so be sure to leave them in the comment box below…