14 November 2009

The Best New Things Are Old Things That Are Older Than the Old Things I Had Before

Today, a package arrived in the mail from our man Egadfly. It contained a pair of vintage Ray-Ban wayfarers, tortoise shell, with green (G15) glass lenses. Just like the ones I was whining about the other day, only, I suspect these are even older. Look at' em, they're perfect!


After posting my lament over the loss of my own Ray-Bans, Egadfly was kind enough to offer this pair to me. Story goes: he bought these in a vintage shop, with the intention of having prescription lenses put in. His optometrist informed him that this was not possible, that the frames wouldn't survive the surgery. This was years ago. After reading my sob story, he decided to send them to a loving home. There are no words to describe my gratitude, really. I didn't realize what a treat it was to own "real" sunglasses until I didn't have any. Thank you, Egadfly.

So how do I know (or guess) they're older than my old ones? The first clue is the hinges. On these glasses they have seven "teeth", three interlocking with four. Newer glasses tend to have five, or even only three, teeth.
This feature, coupled with the glass lenses, which the new pair also has, led me to believe that my old pair was 1960's vintage, or older. But the glasses which arrived today have led me to rethink this hypotheses. It's all in the little details.

Today's pair reads "B&L Ray Ban USA" etched in the right arm...so did my other pair:

But on the left arm, this pair is labelled simply "Wayfarer", where my other pair read "Wayfarer II".

I didn't figure my old glasses to be from the eighties, not that I would have minded. They were big, and heavy, and had all these old fashioned features. I thought that glass lenses were a long gone thing of the past by the time Risky Business came out. But what really threw me was this little detail:

You see, this pair does not have a Ray Ban logo on the side of the arms where the hinges are attached. My other pair did. This leads me to believe that this is clearly the older pair, hailing from a time when things simply didn't have brand names splashed across the outside of them. Perhaps these truly are late fifties/early sixties vintage. I'd been pestering Mrs. G. for a new pair for my birthday. They would have cost around $125, and even this cheapskate will admit that is a fair price for a nice new pair of specs. But the would have had the logo not only on each side, but printed on the right (plastic) lens as well. I probably would have spent most of the night I got them trying to devise a way to scrape the logo off the lens, in the process defacing them. That's how I roll...punk style (or something like that).

So the kicker is that these will give me a private pleasure. People will see them, and their lack of logos, and assume that they are not real. But I will have the satisfaction of knowing that not only are they real, they are in fact more real than other real ones which proclaim their very realness on the outside. (The logic's convoluted to be sure...was it existentialism, or something?)

Again, thanks, Egadfly. Next hook-vented-tweed-sack-in-a-couple-sizes-big-for-me I find has got your name on it, pal.




20 comments:

OldSchool said...

Great story!

Let's hope your "new" Wayfarers serve you well for many years to come.

Use them in good health!

JRS said...

Wow - those are great, sans logo and all. I had a newer pair stolen not too long ago, and I miss them dearly.

FIXED BAYONET METAL SOLDIERS said...

E.Bay=a Sea of what you want .

FIXED BAYONET METAL SOLDIERS said...

rayban!

FIXED BAYONET METAL SOLDIERS said...

u are mad!

Rasputin said...

I don't know Egadfly, but what an awesome gedture! I know you know this, but you definitely owe him one!

The Preppy Pauper said...

Good shades come to those who blog.

Armilyn and David said...

See, all that blubberin' paid off.

Congrats on becoming famous in Canada (scroll halfway down):
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/style/real-guys-give-style-advice-online/article1362543/

David

lisagh said...

What a generous gift! Wear them well.

Scott said...

"I probably would have spent most of the night I got them trying to devise a way to scrape the logo off the lens, in the process defacing them. That's how I roll...punk style (or something like that)."

This was hilarious. I've ruined too many pairs of khakis and polo shirts (among other things) trying to cut logos off.

Anonymous said...

If its of any interest, I have a pair of raybans identical to those pictured above, which i bought new in 1983 or 84. as far as i know the styles with the logo on the side of the frames didnt come out until at least the early nineties.

Kidlazy said...

Have you checked out shwood sunglasses? you need to!! ive blogged about them on my blog..

karakapend said...

I love your blog, and this is the first time I've been moved to comment--since I actually know a wee bit of the subject matter!

The Wayfarer is the original Rayban design, from 1952, that lasted until 1982 when the Wayfarer II made it a comeback story on the strength of Risky Business. The Ray-ban logo itself didn't get added to the exterior of the frames until then, and in the last couple years the logo has also been inscribed on the lenses themselves.

The original Wayfarer is a few centimetres longer in the lens socket, but that is the main difference between it and the II. I have a pair of contemporary II's (for a similar reason as your friend; the contemporary ones will stand up to the pressure put on them to hold prescription frames where vintage simply won't) and I love them, but I will gladly admit your new prize is far superior.

Anonymous said...

the rayban logo on the lens came with the sale of rayban to the italian sunglass group luxotica...before that the lenses had B&L (for Bausch and Lomb). The RayBan logo on the side of the temple came sometime after the early 90's (had a pair of balorama without the logo)

doane said...

Those look great. Love the dark tortoise shade.

Anonymous said...

If they really are '60s shades then you're putting your eyesight at risk wearing them. Old sun glasses do not have UV protection despite their tint so they in effect cause your pupils to dilate in response to lower light which allows more UV light into the eye.

MkupGoddess said...

Those are a great find! I'm thinking they are prob from early to mid-80's though, because they are identical to my favorite pair that I bought new around that time (and still love and wear!) If they have "B&L 5022" on inside above right lens, that's when they are most likely from. Congrats on your find! I would love to find another pair in such good condition from that period!

Anonymous said...

If you're still wondering about your Wayfarers, I have the same glasses, which I bought new in 1985. The Wayfarer II's came out a few years later, and I believe they were both available for some time, with the II model supposedly more modern. The originals are still the best IMHO.

Anonymous said...

i have a pair exactly the same they are circa 80s/early 90's as i used to sell them in a London department store, if you're old pair had Wayfarer 2 written on the inside of the are that is because they were the larger size, they did a regular size which are just wayfarer and then they did a larger pair the wayfarer II

Anonymous said...

Great glasses indeed. I had exactly these glasses, and I also enjoyed that they did not have the Ray-Ban on the side.

However, they got stolen today and I wonder where I can get a replacement of exactly these glasses?