Vintage 1940s Eyeglasses and Sunglasses

Eyeglasses Warehouse is the number one place to buy vintage 1940s glasses for men and women. With a more unique style than glasses from earlier decades but without the boldness of 1950s glasses, WWII glasses are available in a variety of frame styles. We offer authentic women’s and men’s glasses from the 1940s for daily wear with prescription or sunglass lenses, or for use as a stylish accessory, prop, or WWII reenactment.

Find our entire selection of 1940s glasses below. Even if you do not see the size or style you want today, we recommend checking back as we find and restore more 1940s eyeglasses.

About 1940s Glasses Frames at Eyeglasses Warehouse

The 1940s was a transitional decade for eyeglasses and sunglasses. Gold wire frames and horn-rimmed glasses held over from earlier years of the 20th century, but new plastics and changing fashions encouraged manufacturers to introduce new eyeglasses. This led to the 1940s having a large number of styles customers could choose from, and those looking for vintage 1940s glasses can find today.

Glasses Styles Popular in the 1940s

With the world in the midst of WWII for most of the decade, fashion was not a priority for most Americans. Many kept with the styles of glasses they had been using for the past decades, although new materials and technologies – some a result of wartime invention – were starting to make eyeglasses into more of an accessory than their historic counterparts had been.

Frames for Men’s and women’s glasses in the 1940s included:

  • Windsor Glasses – These vintage circular glasses have perfectly round frames, a saddle bridge over the nose, and temples that extend back from the midpoint on the frames. During the 1940s, they were generally relatively small on the face.
  • Gold Wire Glasses – This older style, specifically the Marshwood style, was still popular with men and women. The thin wire frames were subtle and preferred for reading glasses or when the wearer did not want to call attention to their glasses.
  • Horn Rimmed Glasses – Unlike the thin wire frames, horn rimmed glasses had thick frames. They were available as men’s glasses during the 1940s, but were not at the height of style.
  • Rimless Glasses – Rimless glasses with gold hardware had been developed earlier in the century and were liked for having a similar subtlety as gold wire rim glasses. They were the preferred style amongst professionals.
  • Rimway Glasses – Also called semi rimless glasses, they had a thin wire across the top of the lens to provide a better structure than rimless glasses, but with a very similar appearance.
  • 1940s Cat Eye Glasses – After their invention in the 1930s, cat eye glasses were becoming more prevalent. They were also known as Harlequin glasses and had thick frames with embellishments in the corners.

The new styles also brought a range of new shapes. While the vintage circular glasses frames were very fashionable, oval lenses all but disappeared during the decade. They were replaced by rectangular glasses frames, octagonal glasses frames, and frames with a triangular taper at the bottom.

The manufacturers at the time included Bausch and Lomb, Art-Craft, Shuron, and American Optical, all of whose designs were prominent throughout the 1900s.

1940s Sunglasses

Sunglasses were also transitioning from a medical implement to a fashion accessory, primarily for women. As pin-up girls and beach going looks became all the rage, women’s sunglasses became popular as well. The most common style was small, circular lenses, often with grey tint and white frames. But brightly colored plastics also made other colors possible, including:

  • Red
  • Green
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Pink

Other shapes also included early cat eye sunglasses or squared glasses with tapered bottoms. Vintage 1940s sunglasses were often available in five and dime stores for a low price, but the plastics were not durable. As a result, these early plastic sunglasses are rare.

While some of the styles from the 1940s are still produced today, or made as reproductions, only original 1940s glasses have the retro look you need. See all the glasses we have available here and check back as we add new vintage glasses to our collection.