Our History Throughout the Decades

Art-Craft has been a barometer of the changing tastes in eyewear and the way we look at the world for over a century. Market trends change. But one thing remains constant; Art-Craft was born and raised right here in America. And we are in the midst of an exciting chapter of legacy-making, design-led material innovations. We are American innovators, industry leaders, and design thinkers. 


Art-Craft Optical Co., Inc., was formed in 1918 by Charles J. Eagle and Otto W. Dechau. Since its earliest years, the company has had a few headquarters, including the historic Pullman Building in downtown Rochester, NY. The building was home to the company for decades. 


In 2001 Art-Craft moved to more modern facility. “A lot has changed since I joined the company in the late ‘50s,” said Eagle. “Our current home is a great reminder of the necessity for change.” C. Thomas Eagle, son of Charles J. Eagle and current owner/CEO says “I miss the old place. I practically grew up there.”


Starting in 1918 and continuing to this day, Art-Craft’s employees have produced frames of the highest quality, rivaling or outmatching those made anywhere else in the world.

Throughout the years, Art-Craft’s products have reflected market demand and trends in fashion, thanks to its employees. The people who work at Art-Craft today, and the thousands of people who have worked here in the past, are responsible for maintaining the caliber of product sold by the company.

During the early years, spectacles were often produced in solid gold. Alternatively, they were sold with gold-filled materials. Intricate, distinctive patterns were coined and hand engraved to bridges, end pieces, and temples.

Over the years, other metals, used in similar fashion, have included (and still include) nickel, nickel-silver, stainless steel, and titanium.


Like nearly all the metals used for frames, aluminum could be coined with dimensional patterns, finished with a polished gloss and/or a satin matte, anodized in appealing fashionable colors (including combinations of colors), and embellished with hand engraving and/or crystal or colored baguettes.

Military Heritage

Art-Craft was the first American manufacturer of cable temples that ensured a soldier’s eyewear remained secure under cumbersome helmets and gas masks – on land and at sea. We’ve answered the call to supply frame products for our Armed Forces in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and in current conflict zones today.


Plastic frames became more popular during the mid to late thirties, in part because World War II pushed the use of plastics by creating a dearth of other materials. It was not long before fabrication and finishing procedures developed. Early colors in plastic frames were basic, including few more than black or tortoise.


As they became available, however, other colors and patterns were added. The frames became highly decorated, and often included dimensional metal trims. Austrian baguettes and rhinestones were used “to dress a frame with luxury.”


Combination frames made their debut during the late forties and Art-Craft’s experience in the manufacture of metals and plastics put the company in a position to supply beautiful blends of the materials suddenly in complementary demand. The resulting products made Art-Craft a major international supplier of combination frames. The most successful of the different groups of combination frames were the “Art-Rim” frames, including the Leading Lady Art-Rim for women and the Clubman™ Art-Rim for men. Originally, all of the Art-Rim styles featured plastic tops and temples attached to a full metal chassis. Later, though, aluminum tops and temples became available, providing an alternative to the familiar plastics.


The high spirited 70’s was a time that Art-Craft excelled at creating trendy frames including sunglasses in geomtric shapes and aviator styles for men and women’s eyewear. Product lines that launched in the 70’s included the Holiday Sunwear, Art-Bilt Rimway Octagon and many more. It was a busy time for Art-Craft, attending trade shows and building the business from the shop floor to the optical store. The brand was in its heyday and thriving in the marketplace.


During the 80’s Art-Craft was experiencing a resurgence in sales of the the iconic Clubman™ frames due to the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Make no mistake, there is only one original Clubman™ design upon which all others are based, the Art-Craft Clubman™. In addition, fashion designers started to launch their own lines, with Art-Craft partnering with Oscar de la Renta to keep up with the times.


In 1993, Art-Craft entered the safety eyewear market with the introduction of its USA Workforce collection. The line included plastic and metal frames for men and women with tasteful styling, fashionable colors, spring hinges, quality materials, and proven sizes. Protective side shields were also introduced with the safety frames to provide greater protection for workers who needed it. The best manufacturing technology and materials were coupled with skilled American craftsmanship to produce the ultimate in safety frames. Wearers knew that the product was fashionable and that it would perform when needed. Since its introduction, the collection has naturally expanded to offer additional models and additional lines of different value levels.

To this day, Art-Craft is proud to say that USA Workforce sets the standard in prescription safety eyewear.

Year 2000 and Beyond

Art-Craft has been a barometer of the changing tastes in eyewear and the way we look at the world for over a century. Market trends change. But one thing remains constant; Art-Craft was born and raised right here in America. And we are in the midst of an exciting chapter of legacy-making, design-led material innovations. We are American innovators, industry leaders, and design thinkers.