The Surprising History Of Eyeglass Lenses
Above: Rhodes style with Trivex lenses
Like most industry in the last century, advances in technology and materials for our eyeglasses have made leaps and bounds from original intentions which were not so … civilian. Since WWII and the space race, the technology has improved drastically over time resulting in clearer, lighter, stronger lenses.
PLASTIC CR39: MADE FOR THE B-17 BOMBER
Invented in the US in 1940, the first commercial use of the material was as a reinforcement of B-17 bomber fuel tanks. After WWII, Armorlite in California was the first company to use it to make eyeglass lenses. Previously, most eyeglass lenses were made of—you guessed it—glass. CR-39 was much lighter, and almost as clear.
POLYCARBONATE: THE NASA “BUBBLE HELMET”
Developed in 1953 simultaneously in the US and Germany, and trademarked as LEXAN. Polycarbonate was famously used in 1962 to make the astronaut “bubble helmet” due to its notable strength for a transparent material.
TRIVEX: CLEARER, LIGHTER, BULLETPROOF
Trivex was originally invented for the military as a “transparent armor”. Clearer, stronger, and lighter than its predecessors, Trivex was adapted for eyewear use in 2002. It has quickly replaced older materials where high definition clarity, light weight, and strength matter–like in an eyeglass lens.
At David Kind we use Trivex lens material as our standard.
Above: David Kind lens blanks