Wow! What a treasure today has brought me.
I found a fabulous pair of vintage tortoiseshell specs in one of my regular haunts (it pays to look in ALL those cabinets). One the inside of one arms they are labelled "Welby's AL Browless Student."
Of COURSE I'm going to wear them, how could you even ask?!
Before I send them off to have prescription lenses put in them, I contacted Dead Men's Spex to ask their help in dating the frames and the very helpful Darren replied with the following:
"A nice pair of reading frames.
I would say they date to the mid 1960's - early 1970's.
They are made of cellulose acetate.
It is a supra frame - the top is held in by a nylon cord in a groove in the lens - and this didn't come into manufacture until 1955 at the earliest.
Probably a European manufacturer as supra frames were not popular in the USA.
The joints are pinned not heat inserted and are multi barreled making them not later than the early 1970's.
The "AL" is the colour Autumn Leaf
Seeing the way the name is hand written in white on it I would suggest that it was probably a salesman's sample from a local prescription house, I have seen frames from sales boxes marked this way before (maybe based at Welby just outside Grantham or the proprietors were called Welby - there is no reference that I know of to a manufacturer of frames called Welby)."