Spectacle frame with hockey sides

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£200.00 — ex VAT

A frame for spectacles, made in London from tortoiseshell-colour acetate and gold — and with lenses either clear or sunglasses, which can be changed to a prescription lens by an optician.


The frame is a standard size — measuring 128mm across the front (excluding hinges).

The front is acetate: a compound of natural materials, mostly cotton, which feels nice and cool against skin. 33 operations go into making the front — from milling the acetate sheets, through sawing the shape out by hand, to bumping the bridge with an old hand-operated thing called the Bridge Bumper.
The lenses, whether clear or sunglasses, are optical quality, and absorb UV. They are made from a highly developed plastic compound — the standard these days, rather than glass (hence these aren't "glasses"). They are cut with a small glazing machine — by hand — and then fitted into the frame.
The frame has sides made from gold, and hand-cut and hand-shaped end-tips made from the same acetate as the front. The tips are fixed to the sides by hand, and when in place, are given a little bump to stop them sliding off. Making the sides, according to the man responsible, is "a significant amount of work."
The metal joints are made from gold, and they are stamped out and shaped by hand at the factory. The hinge part of the joint is soldered under conditions carefully controlled, so as to get the exact right angle both for when the frame is worn, and when the sides are folded back (7° is standard these days)
The frame comes in a leather case, made by a small family-run leather workroom in east London. The case is made with thick veg-tan leather — with all the edges hand-buffed — and is lined with the reverse of the same leather to create a sort of soft suede effect. It closes with a tarnished brass Sam Brown fastener.

As worn

The gent here is 5'11", and has brown eyes.
The gent here, meanwhile, stands just over 5'9", and has dusty blue eyes.

Makers of

The frame is made in a factory in London, which opened in 1930, and has made face-furniture for the great and good — the NHS, Hollywood — with much the same tools ever since. It is the last such factory anywhere in Britain: a four-storey museum-grade monument to hand-made opticals of the highest quality.
The frame is made from acetate: a compound of natural materials — cotton, mostly — favoured not least because it always feels nice and cool against the skin. 30-plus operations go into making the front, starting with cutting the acetate sheets into strips, then slabs, and then cutting the front out with a small saw.
Once cut, the front is sanded, again by hand, before the grooves in which the lens sit are added.
Then comes the bumping of the bridge, which is done with a contraption known as — what else — the bridge-bumper.
The nosepads on the frame are unique, in that they are cut by hand from the same material as the rest of the front. Once cut and shaped and sanded somewhat, the nosepads are adhered to the front with a cellulose glue, then left to dry overnight.
The front, nosepads and all, is then polished for a number of days in spinning wooden barrels — first with pumice, then fine sand, and then cream and oil.
The metal sides are gold-filled, and are made with eight operations across a variety of hand-operated contraptions.
The joints at the sides — the "straps" — are a 1930s component, made from a gold-filled material, stamped and shaped by hand. The hinge is soldered under conditions carefully controlled, so as to get the correct pantoscopic angle for when the frame is worn, and when the sides are folded back.
The lenses are cut to shape and bumped with a glazing machine — again, no surprises, by hand — and then slotted neatly into the frame.
Finally, the sides of the frame are gold-foil stamped on the gold-foil stamp machine.