AO at Providence Optical

AO main plant today

American Optical main plant today. Now Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center

American Optical (Southbridge, MA) was originally formed in 1833 and is well known for for its contribution to the optical industry including many “firsts” in frame and lens design. Just to name a few of them:

1833 – first in America silver eyeglasses made by jewelers, 1843 – first steel spectacles made in America, 1848 – first gold frames, 1874 – first rimless spectacles, 1884 – first spherical lenses made of glass, 1893 – first toric lenses to correct astigmatism, 1907- automobile goggles, 1913 – UV protective glass lenses, 1921 – first lensometer introduced to measure lens power (which we proudly still use at Providence Optical, beside others), 1924 – progressive lens design, 1943 – development of anti-glare coating for small and large surfaces, 1980 – first scratch resistant hard coating on a lens, 1983 – first plastic photochromic lens, that change color when exposed to light…

We have a few pairs of sunglasses with original cases, made by American Optical. Lenses – tinted glass.

AO sunglasses with original case. Size 54

AO sunglasses with original case. Size 54

AO round, size 42 and 48

AO round, size 42 and 48

AO size 53 sunglasses

Size 53 x 19, tortoise

Size 53 x 19, black

Size 53 x 19, black. But marked as 55mm

CHOOSING GLASSES FOR YOUR FACE SHAPE by Garrett Leight California Optical

How to choose glasses for face shape

How to Choose Glasses for Your Face Shape

Finding the best glasses for your face shape can be tricky given all the options trending. Every week, it’s as if a new pair of it-frames appear: oversized and eclectic, or minimal and sleek. In this sea of options, how do you find the glasses that best suit your style but also fit your face shape in all the right ways? Here’s our take.


Find a mirror and take stock of yourself. Hope you like what you see.

Compare the length of your face to its width. If your face is about as wide as it is long, you probably have a round or square face shape. If your face is much longer, look to heart shaped or oval.

Look at your forehead, cheekbones and jawline in relation to each other. If your forehead and jawline are about the same width, be square. If your cheekbones are the widest part of your face, go round. If you have a long face that tapers gently, think oval. But if your chin ends in a point, love your heart shaped face.


Now that you’ve identified a face shape, it’s time to find a frame. One way to narrow down choices is by looking at fit. Here are some tips – keep in mind that ultimately you’re just feeling out what’s comfortable.

Take a page from Garrett’s Fit Session with GQ and look for frames that contrast with your facial features. As you find frames you really dig — say, round frames for square faces or top-heavy frames for heart shaped faces with angular jawlines — get a feel for what frame width works for you. Your frames should fit on the outside of your cheekbones; not wider than your face so that it feels loose, but not so narrow that it feels really tight. An average lens width is 46-49mm. A petite, tailored fit will be 45mm and under, and an oversized or larger fit is usually 50+ mm.

A key part of fit is where your eye sits in the frame. It should sit in the middle of the lens horizontally, and in the middle or slightly above the middle vertically. Avoid having your eye sit too high in the lens or too close to the bridge. If your eye sits really high, the frame looks droopy and just plain bad.

Standard lengths run from 143—150mm. Temples are malleable and can be adjusted by opticians to rest comfortably on your ears, and help keep your frames from slipping.

As for nose bridges, frames typically have bridges between 19—23mm. Pay attention to how different bridges sit on your nose. For example, saddle bridges fit a variety of nose bridges, but adjustable nose pads allow for an even more adjustable fit — especially if you have a low nose bridge. Again, if you need help finding the best option, it’s best to chat with on of our opticians in store or on the phone.


Choosing eyewear isn’t only about technicalities, though they’ll help with a comfortable fit. Balance and contrast apply to frame aesthetics too: try a thick, bold frame in a lighter shade, or a brighter tortoise on dark skin. Mix it up with a matte finish for a more subtle look, or play with the variety of crystal colors out there.

As your personal style evolves and you get a sense of which frames fit you best, get ready to build out an eyewear collection! Go steady with your everyday staples: versatile G15 lenses, polarized frames for the commute, rich brown neutrals that match nearly everything. Then find your statement frames for your statement looks: the progressive, razor thin Van Buren with flat lenses, or the luxurious feel of metal and acetate combos like Wilson Sun Shield.

Never forget the importance of personal style. You should find a look that you feel comfortable owning. If you listen to what other people think you’ll always get conflicting answers about what looks cool. Just be yourself, trust your gut, and wear what you like. That combined with a great fit will always look the best. Now that’s something you can know without consulting an expert.

Few good reasons to discover …. Garrett Leight

If you have not heard from it yet, you will probably heard from it soon! Garrett Leight California Optical is a pretty new optical company, created in 2010.  GLCO is the abbreviation commonly used for the brand. There is no brand more buzz-worthy lately! It is fueled by a group of young, passionate purveyors of eyewear, dedicated to creating classic design by combining perfect craftmanship with timeless aesthetics.

Garrett Leight, the son of Oliver Peoples founder Larry Leight, has branched out to create a namesake brand of his own. GLCO is laid back, sophisticated, and inspired by his California surroundings. There is a timeless aesthetic to the entire collection. It’s not over complicated, just perfectly executed classic 20th century American styles with a modern twist. Having come from an optical background gives Leight the unique ability to pay attention to the subtle details which makes any frame just that much better: such as the fit, proportion, and comfort. Each frame also boasts some great technical features.

“Our glasses are kind of for the people that have their own original style, and don’t always like to be noticed… they kind of just have this originality. I’m attracted on a design level to certain characters or iconic people from certain periods of time: we made the Arthur Miller frame, I love Greta Garbo, and Grace Kelly, and [iconic] characters like that. Allen Ginsberg, Charles Bukowski… certain people that wore glasses that I’m attracted to, and keep kind of designing frames based on styles they wore. The brand is nothing flashy, and everybody always remarks on the fact there are no logos. I think most people seek out the brand themselves, which is how we envisioned it.” G.Leight

The Venezia is a timeless unisex shape with clean lines and a nice comfortable fit. Its rich with intricate antiqued metal details and combines “Blonde Tortoise Fade” acetate with transparent temples revealing a beautiful underlying filigree design.

Dudley is inspired by the enigmatic writer of generations past. All of the greats have worn this shape from Charles Bukowski to Woody Allen to Allen Ginsberg to Arthur Miller. Made from cured Japanese acetate and custom GLCO hardware, the Dudley is a classic frame with great proportions that works well on both men and women alike.

Dillon is the epitome of the all-American girl’s feminine style. With subtle retro cat eye, this frame is featured in beautiful acetate colors with classic GLCO details like our custom 5-barrel bi-color hinge, and custom engraved core wire.

Dear Santa: Please Bring Me the Latest Electronic Gadgets … and Protection from Them!

Have you asked Santa for a new smartphone, laptop or the latest lightweight tablet?  Are you hoping a new big-screen television or maybe a handheld e-book reader will appear under your tree?  These devices are wonderful entertainment, a great means to stay connected to family and friends, and they can be educational.  Some of them are even must-haves in today’s educational system.  But the scary thing is, they emit significant amounts of blue light, which carries a variety of health hazards. 

The white light that we know and love as daylight is really a sort of packet containing light in all the colors of the visible spectrum, including blue light.  During the day, blue light is a good thing because it helps you to remain alert and lifts your mood.  At night, however, it can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates body rhythms and helps you to get a good night’s rest.  Preliminary research at Harvard Medical School indicates that reduced levels of melatonin may be a contributing factor in certain types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.  And, if you’re having trouble sleeping due to exposure to blue light, Harvard researchers say you have a higher risk of depression, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Digital Eyestrain

As we increase our use of electronic media, our eyes are struggling to cope.  Children and adults alike experience symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, itchy eyes, and neck or back pain.  In fact, digital eyestrain has surpassed carpal tunnel syndrome as the leading cause of computer-related maladies in the United States.


Why Is Blue so Bad? 

The study finds red light least harmful, while blue light is worst.

Of all the colors in the light spectrum, blue causes the most problems for a couple of reasons.  First, because it is the shortest of the light waves, it bounces around more, which causes haze and glare and makes images on your screen look blurry and hard to read.  Secondly, blue light is high energy and this means it causes more damage to your retina than any other color of light.   In fact, this high-energy light is a major contributing factor to age-related macular degeneration.

Don’t Throw Away Your Electronics

From Essilor statement: “We are able to determine the precise toxic wavelenths in the blue-violet spectrum.”

The good news is, vision technology is keeping pace with the changes in digital technology.  Crizal Prevencia, for example, blocks the harmful short rays of blue light (as known as “bad blue light”) while letting in some longer wave, or “good,” blue light so that it doesn’t alter your color perception.  You get protection from damaging rays and a clearer screen image all in one.  And yes, of course, you can get it here at Providence Optical.

Falling for Paris

Our models, Simon and Caroline, in front of the fantasy forest library backdrop. Simon is wearing Lee Allen Eyewear glasses and Caroline is wearing Augusto Valentini.

Everyone loves the excitement of fall – the start of the football season, the launch of the new theater year and, of course, the release of the newest fashions.  In the midst of this swirl of new beginnings, we traveled to Paris to attend the annual Silmo exhibition, where the latest eyewear fashions are unveiled.  While we were there, we decided to take advantage of the locale to do a photo shoot to capture the excitement of travel and designer elegance into our photo spreads.

The venue was the exquisite Hotel Seven, ideally located in the city’s 5th arrondissement, next to the Latin Quarter and a short walk from the renowned rue Mouffetard, one of the oldest streets in Paris which is known for its shops and many lively restaurants. This hotel features fantasy rooms created by high-end designers. Paul-Bertrand Mathieu designed the ON/OFF Suite that we used for the photo shoot. He loves working with lights to create shifting and subtly surrealistic worlds. For the Seven, he created – two worlds in which emotion and technology get together perfectly.

The “On/Off Suite”.  Using transparent screens and special lighting, Mathieu created an illusion that lets you move from an elegant and somber library setting complete with books and desk, to a fantasy forest that features hidden “wonder objects.”

« My initial idea was to create a modern illusion. A fleeting moment when all of a sudden, everything moves, changes, nothing is like it was a moment ago. I had to make two decors in one. On the front side, an elegant and sober decor with books, a boudoir-bedroom, a desk… And on the other side, a fantasy world with an imaginary forest, wonder objects. When you switch the lights on or off, the glass on the walls becomes opaque or transparent : a second decor is then hiding or appearing. Proverbs and citations about illusions are also hidden everywhere. »

Caroline, in Seraphin, and Simon, in Augusto Valentini, wander in the fantasy forest.

We dressed up our models – acclaimed theater actor and actress Simon Oldani and Caroline Frossard – in “night on the town attire” and gave them glasses in sophisticated, innovative styles that are equally perfect for the office or an evening out.

Simon Oldani was born in Geneva, Switzerland. After a childhood spent in Evian (France), he began acting in community centers and at the Geneva Theater High School. From 2010 to 2013, he played in «Le Gros, la Vache et le Mainate». The play has been a national success and got recognition by art critics. He also loves modelling, he made a lookbook for the Fittz brand in Netherlands, then for a european campaign for a french Gin Brand «Gin Vine». He made some parutions in Vanity Faire, Vogue and Esquire which will give him the strenght to carry on this way, mixing acting and modelling.

At the end of two hectic, but fun-filled days, we came away with a collection of photos we really love.  It was an experience we’ll never forget.  After all, who doesn’t love Paris in the fall?

Photography by Greg Alexander                                                                                          Art Director: Sébastien Vienne                                                                                     Models: Simon Oldani & Caroline Frossard                                                                        Hair & Make-up by François Laly                                                                                 Special thanks to Hôtel Seven Paris

Lunetiers du Jura: International Eyewear Design Competition

Launched in 1997, the Lunetiers du Jura International Eyewear Design Competition is an incubator of creativity. Constantly searching for new identities and innovative ideas for their eyewear, the French Association of Jura Eyewear Manufacturers has made this competition the birthplace for frames of tomorrow.
The theme of 2013 competition: «1-100 ans », eyewear for babies and elderly people. This year, 221 projects were examined, 15 projects were selected, and finally 3 projects were awarded! Projects were prototyped by eyewear manufacturers. The 2 winning designs are by Edouard FABRE, Mathieu BRIAND & Nicolas PATRIX from ENSAD – Paris, for the frame “MIRETTES” and Marine DAVAINE from ESAD – Reims for “PRESBYS”.

Mirettes, by Edouard FABRE, Mathieu BRIAND & Nicolas PATRIX from ENSAD – Paris. Prototype produced by eyewear manufacturer OXIBIS Group

“ We were not all born with glasses on our noses. Yet as children we have all circled our fingers in front of our eyes to invent ourselves a pair…” The story of this project was born from that simple gesture that all children make. The construction of a Bézier curve based on the lines described by circling fingers formed the ideal drawing of our frame, each point corresponding to an anchor point.

Presbys, by Marine Davaine, France. Prototype produced by eyewear manufacturer MOREL.


The aim of Presbys is to provide a reworked version of both reading glasses for women and the “loss prevention” cord. These glasses are only used occasionally so an object should be created that women can wear all day long. Thanks to magnets placed in the acetate frame, it is very easy to fold it and unfold.