With the release of our collaboration with Knickerbocker Mfg. on the R.P.G. frame, we wanted to share the history of the iconic frame that the design is based upon. The frames have gone through numerous iterations and redesigns over the years and are often referred to as RPG's (Regulation Prescription Glasses) and BCG's (Birth Control Glasses) for their unflattering appearce. However, we happen to think some of them were pretty awesome...
(WWII Wire Glasses + Packaging)
The first military issue frames were developed for WWII to be used with gas masks. They were wire rimmed glasses with round lenses and thin cable temples, said to be a replication of a shape used by the British military at the time.
After World War II, the frames were switched from metal to cellulose acetate. Initially gray acetate was used, but this was discontinued in 1968, with remaining stocks issued until exhausted. The replacement frames used black cellulose acetate. Every pair of Lowercase frames uses cellulose acetate from Italy or Japan.
In the late 1970's, the lens shape was re-designed to the "S9". Black "S9" frames were released for a brief period, before brown cellulose acetate replaced the black. There was both a male frame (MS9) and a female frame (FS9). The Lowercase x Knickerbocker R.P.G. is based off of the MS9 frame, specifically a version released during the 80's which is most widely associated with the "BCG" name. The brown cellulose acetate frames were discontinued in 2012 (we're amazed they made it that long...), and a new smaller unisex lens shape, the "5A", was introduced with a black frame. The "5A" is still issued today.
(Lowercase x Knickerbocker)