Eyeglasses have been around since 1000 AD yet only got their current form in the late 13th century. You had to use before that what historians call a “reading stone,” a spherical lens that you place on top of a page or document to magnify the text. Way before then, people would take anything they could get to be able to read properly, even filling a glass globe with water.
Today, such methods seem impractical compared with wearable eyeglasses. Sitting nicely in front of your eyes, they make whole paragraphs and pages readable. They also add a measure of style with seamless designs and vibrant colors. An estimated four billion people around the world are wearing some form of corrective eyewear, with six out of ten wearing eyeglasses.
Technology has been making today’s eyeglasses more durable and stylish. Among the innovations gaining attention are titanium plate frame eyeglasses, eyewear benefitting from the lightweight but resilient metal known as titanium. You’d find resilience in various titanium frames like Lindberg strip eyeglasses – Mott Optical.
You probably can’t tell a pair is titanium until you get a hold of one; they can appear as the more prevalent plastic frames due to the plethora of colors offered.
Here’s a closer look into titanium frames and why they’re in a position to become the eyeglasses of tomorrow.
Strong as Gods
The German scientist Martin Heinrich Klaproth gave titanium its name in 1795, a reference to the mighty Titans of Greek mythology. Its remarkable strength for its weight all boils down to how its atoms are arranged. The science is complicated, but the gist is that its wide atomic structure means a piece of titanium can only fit so few atoms.
Titanium also holds its own well against corrosion and heat, making it a popular choice for building ships, aircraft, and spaceships. Its inertness means it also won’t cause any reactions that can induce allergies or complications, finding use in the making of jewelry and surgical implants.
Apply the properties discussed above, and you have a pair that’s no heavier than three U.S. dollar bills (all denominations weigh the same). But, in spite of these advantages, titanium frames are facing tough competition from other materials. Here are the reasons:
- Plastic frames may be as lightweight as titanium, if not lighter, but they’re more affordable and offer a broader array of styles. They lose out on durability though.
- Stainless frames are comparable to titanium ones in every aspect, with the added benefit of lower cost. However, they can be heavy on the nose as stainless steel is denser.
- Beryllium frames, while not as tough as titanium, are a flexible and more affordable option. As they’re relatively new, there aren’t that many of them in the market yet.
No one’s going to dispute the cost of titanium frames. Comprising less than 1% of the Earth’s crust by weight, titanium isn’t as abundant as iron or aluminum. Given its toughness, manufacturers need special equipment to shape raw titanium into designer frames.
Like any other material, titanium frames aren’t for everyone. Ask yourself if your lifestyle warrants a sleek and sturdy pair. Below are some examples:
Nickel is widely used to make alloys for various items, but some can have adverse reactions to it upon contact in the form of rashes or scaly skin. While there are also cases of titanium allergy, its prevalence is once in a blue moon.
If you play a lot of sports and can’t do so without eyeglasses, titanium frames are suitable. They can hold their own against rough playing conditions and various climates. But, you may want to invest in sports goggles, as well.
For almost the same reasons as sports, hitting the great outdoors also demands a resilient frame. You never know how the local environment in your hiking or hunting trip will be like. Titanium frames handle well in unexpected situations.
When you live next to the sea, your eyeglasses have to withstand corrosion by seawater. Titanium is a reliable material for undersea pipelines, remaining in the depths for years without any significant signs of corrosion.
Most people in the market for new eyeglasses don’t think about the materials as much as lenses—and it’s understandable. In the end, their priority is being able to see correctly, especially if options like LASIK surgery aren’t an option for them.
However, if you want your pair to withstand the harsh climate and inevitable passage of time, you need to start thinking about the materials too. Titanium frames surely won’t last forever, but they’ll last a long time in ideal and unideal conditions.