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Thread: Question about 1970s/80s tints

  1. #1
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    Question about 1970s/80s tints

    So I've got a question about something from "before my time"...

    I had a customer come in this week, an older guy, and he wanted to ask about gradient tinting. And he started talking about how back in the 70s and 80s he used to get "light-tinted" lenses, and how nobody wears them any more.

    Anyhow, it did remind me of something I've wondered about for a few years - I've seen on old movies and TV shows (the 70s and 80s are before my time), how some people used to wear tinted lenses indoors. I'm not talking about sunglasses, and I'm not talking about the standard gradient "indoor/outdoor" lenses, I'm talking about this:

    Sometimes it was like a faded peach or rose color, almost like the old photobrown lenses when they don't quite get clear indoors any more:













    Other times it was straight up yellow or amber (like blue-blockers, except why would anyone need to wear blue-blockers indoors?):



    And by the late 80s it was a purple/violet gradient:




    This isn't the first older customer I've had ask me about this. We offer Transitions and Corning, mirror, and some rather bold color tints (i.e. blue, yellow, etc.), but we don't offer like you see above, and I honestly can't remember seeing anyone in my lifetime wearing lenses like those, not as far back as the early 90s. The other guy I work with is young too, and can't remember seeing them either.

    So those of you who've been at this for some time...what was with this trend? And what's the proper name to call these sorts of tints by (other than "those old-timey barely-tinted lenses)"?

    Just curious!

  2. #2
    Optician Extraordinaire
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    I remember this from the 80's. This was from before AR was available or widely used and was a great profit add on. It was done to soften the glassy look of the lenses and soften lights. I used to do mostly gradients and double tints for woman. I would do a soft brown or blue on top( like eyeshadow) and a soft peach or rose on the bottom. I would leave the middle clear. Often I angled the tint so it was mostly on the outer part of the lens. I rarely did those solid darker brown indoor tints.

    These kind of tints fell out of favor when AR became popular. You had to tint the lenses and than send off for the AR and the AR often changed the tint. Or you had to trust the lab to tint them and since the AR locked the tint in, you couldn't change it if the patient wasn't happy.

  3. #3
    OptiBoardaholic
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    Those are some awesome photos! Some of those lenses would work great in front of a computer. Maybe they were ahead of their time.

    I can remember the early photochromics not fully changing back to clear as well.

  4. #4
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    It was a fashion thing. Tinted lenses to highlight eyes and cheeks or to coordinate with the frame. A/R was available, but difficult to apply and maintain the desired colors, though it seems to me that Europe was way ahead of us in that particular area.

    Based on the increased attention to my tint sample book, it's coming back. Be prepared!

  5. #5
    OptiWizard
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    One of the most popular tints of the 70's and 80's was Cruxite (some often refer to it as Cruxlite) It was used primarily as a means to reduce glare and was fashionable. Before that we ran a ton of Rosé I and II glass.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails image.jpg  

  6. #6
    Optimentor Diane's Avatar
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    We used it a lot to give back the color to an individual that clear lenses actually take away. Done well they looked great. They were fun as we'll. Judy, I've heard that they may be coming back as well. We shall see, due to AR.

    Diane
    Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

  7. #7
    Master OptiBoarder NCspecs's Avatar
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    Those pictures are freaking great; awesome Monday chuckle, thank you!

    I still do this from time to time. Little old ladies don't want to apply make-up any longer because they are so presbyopic they can barely get their lipstick on straight, bless their hearts. I sometimes get some younger folks who want tints even after I explain reduced light transmission to them. Whatever floats their boats!
    "Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened beings; only enlightened activity." -Shunryu Suzuki

  8. #8
    One eye sees, the other feels. OptiBoard Gold Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happylady View Post
    I remember this from the 80's. This was from before AR was available or widely used and was a great profit add on. It was done to soften the glassy look of the lenses and soften lights. I used to do mostly gradients and double tints for woman. I would do a soft brown or blue on top( like eyeshadow) and a soft peach or rose on the bottom. I would leave the middle clear. Often I angled the tint so it was mostly on the outer part of the lens. I rarely did those solid darker brown indoor tints.
    Yup, peach or rose on the bottom depending on skin tone, used as a blush. I remember tri-tints, using blue in the middle to make the sclera look whiter.

    One optician I learned from used the phrase 'hint of tint', usually a 5% to 10% sand to soften the surface reflections. Any darker and you would get a lecture from the ophthalmologist about retinal illumination and the aging eyes.

    Do you remember receiving seasonal color analysis instruction from a Color me Beautiful rep? Still useful to this day.
    Roberts Optical Ltd.
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    Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. - Richard P. Feynman

  9. #9
    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    Back in the sixties before plastic lenses came into vogue we used to sent tons of glass lenses to National Lens Coating for either cosmetic or sun tinting. With the advent of plastic lenses and the ability to dye them in house we rarely sold a white lens. We marketed the cosmetic advantages and , of course, the hippy movement (which was started by our friend Chris Ryser to get his new business venture off the ground) didn't harm matters. We would tint a pair of lenses for a cost of about $0.25 and charge $10.00 - $20.00. Yes, it was a license to print money. I paid off a new GTO in less than a year.

    Ahhh, for the good old days.

  10. #10
    Compulsive Truthteller OptiBoard Gold Supporter Uncle Fester's Avatar
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    Used R.I.T. dye from the local Woolworths.

    Then you'd offer to put their initials on the lens from a book of small sticky backed initials. Usually gold.

  11. #11
    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments
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    Blue Jumper Yes, it was a license to print money. ........................................

    Quote Originally Posted by rbaker View Post

    ...............the hippy movement (which was started by our friend Chris Ryser to get his new business venture off the ground) didn't harm matters. We would tint a pair of lenses for a cost of about $0.25 and charge $10.00 - $20.00. Yes, it was a license to print money. I paid off a new GTO in less than a year.

    Ahhh, for the good old days.

    In the the days prior to that the blue/white neon tubes were used as the latest novelty in every store. That light was tiresome for many who who then chose to buy their glass lenses in B&L Softlite and AOCO Cruxite, and other makes. They came in about 3 light shades and were pink.

    They all sold for more money.

    When the plastic CR39 lenses came up around 1970, also the tinting started and to do the light colors was and still is a 10 to 15 second dip in the hot dye.

    These days for the ones that are still doing it and there are many there is also the new technique of using the microwave oven for super fast results even with the hard to tint polycarbonate lenses, and much lower cost for the equipment.

    I assume that above pictures could start a new wave of fashion in glasses because what goes around comes around.
    Chris Ryser
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

  12. #12
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Java99's Avatar
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    They are coming back. I've done two blue on top/rose on bottom this year. (There was a name for that, I came too late to know what it was but I had seen enough of those lenses I can duplicate them.)

  13. #13
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    Double gradient.

  14. #14
    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Java99 View Post
    They are coming back. I've done two blue on top/rose on bottom this year. (There was a name for that, I came too late to know what it was but I had seen enough of those lenses I can duplicate them.)
    If you present it as the latest miracle tint you can score just about every time. Just remember:

    A little song
    a little dance
    a little seltzer
    down their pants

  15. #15
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Java99's Avatar
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    LOL, I wasn't trying to sell it. Both older ladies who wanted what they had all those years ago.

    I thought there was a specific name for that particular color combo, more specific than double gradient.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Java99 View Post
    LOL, I wasn't trying to sell it. Both older ladies who wanted what they had all those years ago.

    I thought there was a specific name for that particular color combo, more specific than double gradient.
    Rumor has it........they were called "tri-tints, and the top color might have been referred to as the eyelid, or shadow color. The centre color was the eye, or vision color. The bottom color was known as the "blush" color. You were able to specify the dimension in mm of the three areas required, and labs also had samples made up for their palette of colors available.


    Viola..........instant makeup in mirror-ball lighting and, it toned down the reflectance from the stainless steel dance floors.
    Eyes wide open

  17. #17
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Java99's Avatar
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    Wow. How far we've come.

  18. #18
    One eye sees, the other feels. OptiBoard Gold Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Java99 View Post
    Wow. How far we've come.
    Yes, now we have permanent disfiguring face candy. It's really hard to find one's individualism these days.

    http://www.oddee.com/item_98164.aspx

    My favorite...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Zappa Glasses.jpg  
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  19. #19
    Optician Extraordinaire
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    I noticed Ringo Starr had a fairly dark gradient tint on his glasses during the TV special about the Beatles.

  20. #20
    Master OptiBoarder opty4062's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Fester View Post
    Used R.I.T. dye from the local Woolworths.

    Then you'd offer to put their initials on the lens from a book of small sticky backed initials. Usually gold.
    Oh man I remember the stickers! We had the alphabet in several scripts and some music notes, butterflies, that kind of thing. What a pain to get them on straight!

  21. #21
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    I still have décor that required a drill and a lock nut.

  22. #22
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    Ah, the good old days...CR-39 and Rit dye.

  23. #23
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbaker View Post
    If you present it as the latest miracle tint you can score just about every time. Just remember:

    A little song
    a little dance
    a little seltzer
    down their pants
    Thanks for that, I won't be able to get that little jingle out of my head.

  24. #24
    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Martellaro View Post
    Yes, now we have permanent disfiguring face candy. It's really hard to find one's individualism these days.

    http://www.oddee.com/item_98164.aspx

    My favorite...
    Don't forget all the permanent eyeliner jobs that the MD's pumped out back in the 80's. I wonder what they look like today?

  25. #25
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    I remember my first optical job included tinting almost everything. Thankfully, AR has stopped most of that and my current tint unit hasn't been used since I started. It wouldn't be so bad if I had filtered water which still doesn't seem to keep the grays and browns how I would like them or if patients stayed with the CR39. I like the look of gradients but I don't miss doing them!

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