Spectacles have carried mixed connotations since their introduction in Central Italy in the middle ages. If Goethe and Eckermann had negative feelings towards eyeglasses, F Scott Fitzgerald and William Golding gave them a crucial role in their novels. A pair of thick yellow frames became the allegory of American society in The Great Gatsby, while Piggy’s “burning glasses” in Lord of the Flies embodied rational thought and civilisation.
The semantics around eyewear had a new twist at the beginning of the 20th century when optician Mr Emil Bruno Meyrowitz made his protective eyewear brand a new epitome of triumph and success, supplying champions across aviation, motor racing and mountaineering.
The eponymous company dates back to 1875, when Prussian-born E.B. Meyrowitz founded the brand, offering a wide range of spectacles, optical tools and devices in his store in New York.
Featuring flat, laminated glass lenses and well-ventilated nickel frames, the Luxor goggles were the most popular piece of protective bifocals among flight pilots and racing motorists between the 1920s and the 1940s. The hype around his business increased dramatically with the endorsement of high-profile brand ambassadors, such as Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh.
Wearers also included on-the-road titleholders; Meyrowitz supplied eyewear to the winners of several famous endurance-focused sports car races. French racing driver André Lagache, for example, used Luxor goggles when, in 1923, he won the first 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Jamie Davison-Lungley, E.B. Meyrowitz brand director, explains traditional craftsmanship is one of the company’s cornerstones. Maintaining a blend of machinery and handmade craftsmanship, the frames are cut, shaved and sanded meticulously. Master craftsmen proceed with polishing before assembling the rim and temples.
The technical know-how allows Meyrowitz to guarantee impeccable quality. It also offers a bespoke service: frames are crafted to enhance individual face morphologies and personalities.
The made-to-order experience takes place in the The Royal Arcade boutique in London’s Mayfair, starting with the choice of the material. Biodegradable cellulose acetate assures a lightweight touch. Buffalo horn, one of the oldest frame materials in the world, is a sustainably sourced by-product offering a unique texture and extra comfort. With its intense luminosity, pure tortoiseshell has been a synonym for sophistication since Ancient Greece. Precious metals such as gold have been recently added to the range, delivering unmatched finesse and enchanting allure.
The brand has just launched an acetate limited edition that brings a contemporary take to old Hollywood glamour. Bold trims and dark hues are a clear statement: if the red carpet is back, so is the desire to smarten up. Sartorial details such as triple pinning and elegant curves perfectly match dinner jackets. Answering the request for a new sense of occasion, or just for a bit of fun, E.B. Meyrowitz is ready for the next party.