1930s Glasses

Vintage Eyewear from the 1930s

Eyeglasses Warehouse is the number one place to find antique glasses and never worn vintage style glasses. We sell a number of 1930s glasses for men and women, including iconic styles from the decade like wire rim glasses, vintage round glasses, 1930s cat eye glasses, and others. Our team reclaims and restores these historic frames to wearable condition and prepares them to have your preferred lenses added. Browse our collection of vintage 1930s glasses frames below.

About Our 1930s Eyeglasses and Sunglasses

The 1930s does not always get the same reputation for iconic styles as decades like the 20s and 50s. Between the Great Depression and the inevitability of WWII, fashion was not the priority it had been the previous decade, although that didn’t stop new styles of glasses from making their way to popularity during the decade. This resulted in an interesting variety of available glasses that gave wearers a choice between well-known styles and more innovative frames.

For modern glasses wearers wanting to bring vintage 1930s style into their wardrobe, you have a range of styles to choose from, including vintage round glasses, wire rim glasses, early cat eye glasses, and more.

Rimless and Rimmed Glasses from the 1930s

Already existing styles, rimmed and rimless glasses stayed the dominant look for everyday wear in the 1930s. Rimmed glasses usually used thin frames, although women’s eyeglasses were beginning to become more decorative. Earlier innovations like Ful-Vue glasses and Marshwood style glasses with pearl nose pads were now standard on most glasses. Materials remained largely the same as well with options that included:

  • Gold
  • White Gold
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Acetate (Plastic)

As plastics were becoming more durable and affordable, acetate glasses became the choice for daily wear over metal frames. Plastic also enabled manufacturers to make glasses in new colors, complimenting their increasing use as a fashion accessory in addition to a medical tool.

1930s Glasses Frame Shapes

Round glasses frames were a prominent style for men and women. They came in the Windsor style or more modern Marshwood style with nose pads and temples mounted at the top of the lenses. The perfectly round frame softened a little over the decade, tapering in slightly at the bottom.

The other popular lens shapes – both for rimmed and rimless glasses – were ovid and octagonal. People had been wearing ovoid, or egg-shaped, glasses since the mid-1800s. Octagon glasses were newer, first coming into fashion in the 1920s.  The octagon lenses could have sharp corners or smoother sides, the latter of which became more in demand later in the decade.

All lens shapes featured lenses that were larger than previous decades. The addition of nose pads to provide greater stability and better lens technology enabled them to grow, and the overall frame was generally ¼ inch to ½ inch wider than before.

1930s Cat Eye Glasses

The 1930s also saw the first significant change in women’s eyeglasses when designer Altina Schinasi patented her “Harlequin Glasses.” These would come to be known as cat eye glasses and, by the 1950s, would be the most popular style for women.

In the late 1930s when cat eye glasses were first introduced, the design had a sharp upsweep to pointed corners, much like the shape of a masquerade mask. Similar to a mask, women’s 1930 cat eye glasses were usually made from colorful acetate with embellishments along the top of the frames.

Other 1930s Frame Styles

1930s glasses for men and women also included glasses that were popular in past decades, often among older populations or in high society circles. This was the last decade for pince nez glasses, but they were still frequently used.

1930s aviator sunglasses came into vogue in the later half of the decade. This was a new shape for glasses. Early aviator eyeglasses were rimless with either a metal bridge or clear plastic bridge across the top of the lenses. Manufacturers like American Optical and Art-Craft quickly produced their own aviators.

1930s Sunglasses

Sunglasses continued on their rise in the 1930s. In the 1930s, men’s sunglasses and women’s sunglasses often used round lenses with frames made from either white or clear plastic. Grey or green lenses were the most common choice.

The popularity of Bausch & Lomb sunglasses, a number of new tinted glass colors – including red, blue, green, smoke, and more, and new designs like vintage sport sunglasses made sunglasses a standard in the last few years of the 1930s. 

Retro and Antique Glasses at Eyeglasses Warehouse

In addition to our authentic glasses frames from the 1930s, Eyeglasses Warehouse sells our own line of retro glasses. Our round rimless glasses and vintage style glasses use quality materials to create the 1930s look in a pair of glasses that is comfortable and attractive.

You can find all types of men’s and women’s 1930s glasses frames on this page, or browse the rest of our site to see all of the glasses we have available. For antique glasses, you’ll want to check back regularly as well as we add new items to our collection.