Eyeglass design through the decades

On a pretty corner in Westhampton, N.Y., William Vetri runs his passion project — a small but exhaustive collection of eyeglasses and sunglasses that begins in the Civil War era, and traces the development of eyewear through the 1940s, 50s and 60s and into present day.

Vetri’s company, Frameworks America, established in 2010, is an all-American designer and manufacturer of premium eyewear collections. Its signature line is Spectaculars, a limited production brand highlighting iconic 20th century American styles.

While designing his line, Eastman was an obvious place for Vetri to turn because the designs that were his inspiration were made with Eastman cellulosics. As he sought inspiration, he visited Eastman in Kingsport, Tennessee reconnect with the color strips for these iconic designs.

Spectaculars designs include all the American classic shapes from 1934 through the 1970s. In fact, the styles Orama, Benjamin, Bradford, Billy, and Thelma and Louise will be worn in the Quinten Tarantino film, “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” expected to hit theaters mid-2019. Vetri was excited to note that Tarantino is one of the last directors still using film, made from cellulose acetate.

The Benjamin and Bradford styles will also be featured in the film “Ford v. Ferrari,” the true story of the battle between Ford and Ferrari to win Le Mans in 1966. Also set for release in 2019, the film stars Christian Bale and Matt Damon,

The entire Spectaculars collection uses cellulose acetate and Tritan™ from Eastman for its frames, and Tritan for its lenses. In fact, these are the first glasses on the market that use Tritan lenses. One might say Frameworks has a pioneering point of view! Fun fact – The Orama is a vintage wrap style with curved lenses, originally made from nylon, and now reimagined in Tritan material.

Vetri talks us through the changing shape of eyewear over the years.

From top to bottom:

“The leather case and first pair of glasses are from the Civil War period. Frames back then were made of wire, usually by jewelers, watchmakers or blacksmiths, and hooked behind the wearer’s ears to stay in place.

“The next four show the way the shape of the frame changed over time, reflecting the evolution of eyeglasses from a necessity to a fashion.

“The second pair down is made from cellulose acetate [hyperlink] by a brand called Tart Optical, which was founded in New York City in 1948 and remains in business today. The frames were launched in 1949 and remained popular into the 1960s.

Eyeglass frames

“The third and fourth are both from our brand, Spectaculars. Both the tortoiseshell Bradford frame and bi-colored Butch frame were first created in the 1950s but remain in production today.

“Lastly, there is a new frame that we’ve designed with Colors in Optics, another New York-based eyewear manufacturer that has been in business for 40 years.”