Bill Gates made the simple, unfussy Lindberg frame an eyewear icon in the Nineties. They are hardly the most stylish of frames, but these small minimal glasses certainly leant him an air of integrity.
Bill Gates in his iconic Lindberg frames
Glazing is the process by which lenses are cut to fit into the frames of a pair of spectacles. Various parts of the lens need to be aligned with points in the eye. Largely unnoticed and unsung, glazers sit at the bottom of the ladder in the eyewear industry. I started my career as a trainee glazing technician at age seventeen. I was fortunate, as it’s very rare for a glazer to go on to become a shop owner, let alone a successful one.
Once upon a time, all lenses were made of glass. Not so nowadays: since the late sixties, the best materials for lenses have been plastics, which are far easier to manipulate than glass. However, glass holds a tint better than plastic which can only be coated. The best sunglass lenses in the world are made by Barbarini of Italy. Here, the pigment is inside the glass, not a coating added to it. A great example of Barberini glass lenses in action is G15, a specific colour used in aviation-green lenses designed for pilots. Their distinctive green tint comes from the use of ferrous oxide in their manufacture. G15 lenses have the best colour balance and absorb infrared radiation. Even at high altitude, when the sky is a deep, dark blue, colours are kept natural and pilots can still see things as they really are. This is a timely reminder that sunglasses are for seeing through, not just to be seen in.