Tools for Making Eyeglasses

1. The first written mention of eyeglasses dates back to the beginning of the 14th century, in Italy. The exact birthplace of eyeglasses is much disputed information. Some historians argue that eyeglasses were invented in Pisa, Italy, a town with a thriving glass industry during the Middle Ages. Others point Venice as the right place. At the time, goldsmiths and other artisans produced eyeglasses using pliers, calipers, tweezers and other simple tools. Today, eyeglass making still involves the use of simple tools, but in their improved contemporary version.

2. Pliers are fundamental in the eyeglass making process, and come in diverse shapes and sizes. They are used for cutting, shaping and adjusting. Bent post pliers have a 45-degree angle, which allows easy access to the area around the hinge. Shaping pliers make adjustments on plastic frames to the temple, an area of the glasses’ arms. Crimping pliers attach clip-on nose pads while liner insertion pliers insert the lenses in the frame’s rim. Pliers are often made of stainless steel.

3. Calipers are precision measurement tools used in lenses. Calipers used in the eyeglass making industry generally measure up to 19 mm thick lenses.These measurements are important when fitting the lenses in the right size frames. Although there are many types of calipers, glass makers only use outside calipers, which are designed to measure the external thickness of an object.

4. Tweezers are useful when inserting screws, which are generally very small. Some tweezers have springs, allowing them to remain closed and thus helping to hold the screws in a hand-free mode. Other tweezers also have a curved end, which allows greater precision of movements when holding and inserting screws. Pad-removing tweezers are specifically designed for pad-arm adjustment.

5. Essential for eyeglass production, screwdrivers also repair frames. Screwdrivers can differ in size and head type. Flatten-head screwdrivers have a single flat blade, while hex-head screwdrivers fit screws with hexagonal shapes carved in their heads. Phillips-head screwdrivers have double-ended blades in the shape of a cross and are used the most in eyeglass making.