Protective spectacles, c 1981.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
These spectacles, made by the British American Optical Company, have pivoting tinted half lenses and mesh side screens and were produced for general industrial use. Early face and eye protection from flying sparks, splinters or abrasive particles had been given by masks or goggles made from fine wire gauze. When laminated and toughened glas was introduced in the 20th century, their use was limited due to their high costs, but the invention of the polycarbonate range of plastics brought down the costs.