women's pre-war : k5564
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product code : k5564 : £ 75
  • 1920's/30's silver metal frame marked KING MODEL US

  • Original yellow glass lenses

condition

size

lens spec

other info
  • The name King - stamped here on the reinforcing top bar - is

    an important one in American eyewear. The family were early

    silversmiths, watchmakers and jewellers, from Massachussetts

    in the 1600's originally, then Ohio. It was Julius King, born in

    1835
    , who saw more opportunity in the frames sold in his

    father's jewellery shop and became an MD after the Civil War.

    He started the Julius King Optical Company, which was very

    successful, with branches in New York and Chicago but it was

    his son, Walter King, who joined the company in 1881, who

    wanted to specialise in protective eyewear. Safety 'goggles'

    were produced with AO in 1909 and in World War One they

    were developing an oxygen mask for airforce pilots. The

    glasses we have for sale though are likely to be driving 'goggles'

    or glasses, the yellow lenses sharpening detail in overcast and

    dimly lit conditions. The Henry Ford Museum has a Julius King

    Optical Co. 'Auto Specialities' catalogue dating from 1900.

    An AO automobile, sports and other eyewear catalogue from

    1916, has some glasses on the front very similar to this pair.

    As you can see driving was more hazardous in those days with

    less street lighting and the driver also vulnerable to the wind

    throwing dust and dirt from unmade roads into an open top

    vehicle. We have a distributor's catalogue from 1922 in our

    own archives, which shows nearly exactly the same types of

    motoring goggles as this pair. By the 1930's, such glasses were

    changing shape to ellipses or 'faceform' types. Early 'aviators'.

    Walter King became the first safety director at American Optical,

    after they purchased JKO Co in 1925. As King was absorbed into

    AO by 1925, we feel confident then that this King pair dates

    from the early 1920's. A real Auto Speciality then.

                                                                      — klasik

vintage sunglasses : unisex : 1920's/30's marked KING MODEL US
back to : women's pre-war : page 1
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