The History and Evolution of Panto Glasses: Braun Classics

The History and Evolution of Panto Glasses: Braun Classics

The eyewear industry has come a long way since its inception. With the introduction of new materials, innovative designs, and evolving fashion trends, eyewear has transformed from a mere necessity to a fashion statement. One of the most significant and enduring styles in the history of eyewear is the Panto glasses. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the history and evolution of Panto glasses, with a special focus on the Braun Classics, a vintage, classic made in Italy acetate eyewear.


Origins of Panto Glasses

Panto glasses, also known as P3 or pantoscopic glasses, have an interesting history that dates back to the 1930s. The "P" in P3 stands for Pantoscopic, referring to the angle or tilt of the bottom of the frame rims towards the eye. This inward tilt allowed for more precise and accurate vision correction, enabling the wearer to rotate their eyes from distance to reading without difficulty. The "3" represents the 3mm difference between the height and the width of the lenses in the original versions of these frames, which gives them their oblong shape.

The P3 Shape and Its Advantages

The P3 shape was first introduced in the early 1930s. Unlike previous round-rimmed frames with temple hinges at their midpoint, P3s allowed for the temple hinges to be attached in the upper 1/4 of the rim. This raised the temple above the vision line and allowed the eyes of the wearer to be seen from the side.

The optical advantages of P3s were quickly recognized, and the US military adopted the shape as the standard government issue for soldiers who needed vision correction. The rugged GI P3s were made of metal and had wrap-around temples to keep them in place during combat. After WWII, tortoiseshell and horn rim versions became popular among returning GIs and civilians, who preferred standard temples.

Braun Classics: A Vintage, Classic Made in Italy

Braun Classics is a renowned eyewear brand that offers a wide variety of vintage and classic Panto glasses. Made in Italy, these glasses are crafted using high-quality acetate, ensuring durability and a comfortable fit. Braun Classics takes pride in its attention to detail and commitment to maintaining the timeless appeal of Panto glasses.

The Use of Acetate in Braun Classics

Acetate is an essential material in the eyewear industry, especially in the manufacturing of Braun Classics. The use of acetate in eyeglasses can be traced back to the 19th century when it was initially invented as a substitute for ivory, which was in short supply due to the decline in the elephant population.

Acetate quickly became a popular choice for eyewear manufacturers because of its flexibility and ability to be infused with a variety of colours and effects. Today, acetate remains a preferred material for crafting high-quality, stylish eyewear, including the vintage Braun Classics.

Braun Classics and Hollywood's Influence

Hollywood has played a significant role in popularizing sunglasses and establishing a connection between eyewear and glamour. In the late 1920s, Hollywood stars were often photographed wearing sunglasses as part of movie promotional material, which helped create a global demand for fashionable eyewear.

The optical industry was slow to adapt, but eventually, manufacturers began to recognize the potential for eyewear to be both functional and fashionable. This shift in perception paved the way for brands like Braun Classics, which combine style, quality, and functionality in their vintage Panto glasses.

The High Joint and Cat-Eye Frames

One of the most notable innovations in the history of eyewear was the introduction of the high joint. In 1931, the American Optical Company introduced the Ful-Vue, the first pantoscopic frame with hinges placed on the upper part of the frame. This allowed the lenses to tilt down towards the wearer's face, improving the performance of the lenses and enabling the glasses to fit the contours of the face more pleasingly.

This new frame style eventually came to be known as cat-eye frames, which became ubiquitous by the 1950s. The high joint and cat-eye frames are a testament to the ever-evolving nature of eyewear design and the industry's ability to adapt to changing fashion trends.

Color and Creativity in Eyewear Design

Following the end of World War II, there was a shift in the public's taste for eyewear, with people embracing fun and frivolous designs. This led to a surge in colorful and imaginative eyewear styles, featuring various shapes, materials, and ornamental elements.

The ornamental-comb industry played a significant role in this transformation, with craftsmen channeling their talents into eyewear design. The result was a whimsical hybrid of optical design and ornamental comb design that captured the spirit of the times.

The Rise of Designer Eyewear

In the mid-20th century, the optical industry came up with a groundbreaking idea that would revolutionize the eyewear industry: designer branded collections. By collaborating with established fashion designers, eyewear companies could add the designer's name to their frame collection and market them as creations of the fashion house.

The first designer branded collection was launched in 1953 by the American Optical Company in collaboration with Claire McCardell, the famous inventor of American sportswear. This partnership set the stage for an avalanche of designer eyewear that would eventually dispel the stigma of having to wear glasses.

The Legacy of Panto Glasses: Modern Adaptations and Trends

Panto glasses have stood the test of time, remaining a popular choice for eyewear enthusiasts across the globe. Modern adaptations of Panto glasses continue to honor the style's origins while incorporating contemporary design elements and materials.

The Influence of Braun Classics on Contemporary Eyewear

The timeless appeal of Braun Classics has had a significant impact on contemporary eyewear design, with many brands drawing inspiration from the vintage, classic Panto glasses. The use of acetate, attention to detail, and commitment to quality craftsmanship are hallmarks of Braun Classics that have influenced the eyewear industry at large.

Panto Glasses in Today's Fashion

Panto glasses continue to be a staple in today's fashion, with celebrities, influencers, and fashion-forward individuals embracing the style. Whether sporting a vintage pair of Braun Classics or a modern interpretation of the Panto glasses, the enduring appeal of this eyewear style is undeniable.

The Future of Panto Glasses and Braun Classics

As the eyewear industry continues to evolve, Panto glasses and Braun Classics are expected to maintain their relevance and appeal. With a rich history and timeless design, Panto glasses will undoubtedly remain a go-to choice for eyewear enthusiasts seeking a vintage, classic look.

Innovations in Materials and Design

The future of Panto glasses will likely see continued innovations in materials and design, with eyewear manufacturers exploring new ways to enhance the comfort, durability, and aesthetics of the frames. The use of sustainable materials and cutting-edge technology will likely play a significant role in the continued evolution of Panto glasses.


The Growing Popularity of Vintage and Classic Eyewear

As more people embrace the charm and appeal of vintage and classic eyewear, the demand for Panto glasses and Braun Classics is expected to grow. The combination of timeless design, quality craftsmanship, and modern innovation will ensure that Panto glasses continue to be a sought-after eyewear style for years to come.


The history and evolution of Panto glasses, with a focus on Braun Classics, is a testament to the enduring appeal of this eyewear style. From its origins in the 1930s to its influence on contemporary eyewear design, Panto glasses have remained a popular choice for those seeking a vintage, classic look. As the eyewear industry continues to innovate and evolve, Panto glasses and Braun Classics will undoubtedly maintain their place in the world of fashion and eyewear.