Let’s be honest, you could make eyeglasses from pretty much anything. And trust us, people have! Back in the day, tortoiseshell frames weren’t made of plastic or acetate, they were made from actual tortoiseshell! And the thick brows on horn-rimmed and browline glasses? Bone and ivory. Fret not, though. Unless you’re buying your eyeglasses from an antique dealer, the chances of your glasses frames being made from actual bone or shell are slim to none. So how are eyeglasses made nowadays?
How are eyeglasses made?
Well, most modern eyeglass and sunglass frames are made from either plastic or metal. Metal is a great choice of material for glasses frames since it can be easily cut, shaped, and formed, but picking the right kind of metal is important. Although lead glasses would be easy to shape, it’s not the safest or lightest of metals to make glasses from. Instead, most glasses frames are made of stainless steel, titanium, or aluminum. Metal glasses usually end up being wire, flat, or sometimes a combination of the two. So let’s take a look at how are eyeglasses made.
How metal glasses are made
Wire frame metal glasses are from, well metal wire! The wire winds its way through precision machinery that crimps and turns it, forming and shaping it into frames. The joints and nose pad hinges are soldered on, plastic or acetate sleeves are slipped onto the temple arm tips, and the arms are screwed on the temples of the frame front.
Flat metal glasses, on the other hand, are made of thin, sheet metal. Precision lasers cut the frame pieces out of flat metal sheets, and the edges are smoothed by hand or by tumbling. Just like with wire metal frames, nose pad hinges are soldered on, plastic is fitted over the tips of the temple arms, and the temple arms are fixed to the frame front at the hinges.
How plastic glasses are made
Eyeglasses are also made from plastics. The two main types of plastic used are injection or acetate. Injection plastic is when tiny plastic beads are melted down and then shot into a mold. Different mixes and concoctions of colored beads are used to make different colors and patterns. Depending on the style, an adjustable nose pad is attached, along with hinges and temple arms.
Acetate, a plant-based plastic, is bit different. First, the plant fiber is extracted, processed into a paste, and then cured into a soft plastic. Then, pigments are mixed and folded into the plastic and pressed several times through giant rollers. This creates large sheets of uniform colors. To get floral and tortoiseshell patterns, solid sheets are chipped up and then pressed together. Sheets of different color can also be pressed together in order to make new, striped sheets. After a sheet is finished, it’s set to cure and harden. A similar process to the one used to cut flat, metal glasses is used make acetate frames. Precision machinery cuts out the frame front and temple arms, which are then tumbled and polished. Metal wire is pressed into the temple arms for stability, and hinges and nose pads are added by hand.
How eyeglasses lenses are made
Eyeglass and sunglass lenses are shaped from plastic disks. The type of lens selected is unique for each order/prescription. Specialized machines then cut and bevel the lenses down to the right shape for the frame and the wearer’s prescription. Each lens receives a finishing by hand and then fitted into its frame. To fit the lenses in full-rimmed glasses, the frame is simply heated up so the lens can be pressed into place. Rimless glasses, on the other hand, need screws to hold the nose bridge and temples in place. And for semi-rimless glasses, the lenses are held into place by a thread that fits into the groove along the lenses edge.
We hoped this has let you learn more about how are eyeglasses made. If you’re looking to learn more about the different styles of eyeglasses EyeBuyDirect has to offer? Check out our eyeglasses’ frame page for frames of all different shapes and sizes!