We're focusing our attention on the fabulous Anglo American Optical. Founded in London in 1881, it is to date one of the longest standing optical frame manufacturers around.
In 1947 the company was bought by Arthur Jenkin, an optician from the UK, and the company remains in the family today, with brother Tony Jenkin at the helm. It was in 1967 that Lawrence Jenkin (Tony's brother) went to New York to work as a dispenser and learn the art of frame making.
In 1970 Lawerence was given £24,000 by Vision Unlimited to set up his own factory in London at his dad Arthurs premises. The company HQ is still based in London.
When viewing our collection, it's interesting to note of the correlation between Anglo American frames and the leading styles marketed today. Vintage Anglo American frames are as stylish and fashionable now as they have ever been. A key influencer for the optical sector across the decades, Anglo American have always consistently balanced style and fashion, with high quality manufacturing.
My favourite model from the collection is the Anglo American Eyewear 132. A great big 1980's oversized frame, that came in lots of different colour-ways. Talking of colour-ways we love the MLC 1, this was a rainbow colour, available in different shapes, and hand tinted in London by a lady called Evelyn.
In the early 1970's the Alternative collection was launched. These were unusual and imaginative pieces, designed to capture the eye, and get coverage, featuring in magazines and displaying at trade shows. These frames actually sold better than anticipated and have become desirable for eyewear collectors across the globe. Barry Humphries aka Dame Edna Everage has worn many of these incredible frames, including Possums (pictured below).
As with most UK eyewear manufacturers, financial difficulties took a hold and the company was saved by Dr Ken Roth, a New York optometrist. A year later Lawerence parted ways with the company and focused on his own personal projects, he continues to make frames to this day. In 2000 Tony The brand has been seen on many celebrities including Johnny Depp, Michael Caine and Elton John, it is know wonder that this brand will stay at the forefront of optical fashion for years to come.