New Year’s Novelty Glasses 

They also sold their leftover glasses to graduating classes, for use five to six months after the new year. Clever!

You probably don’t recognize the names Richard Sclafani and Peter Cicero, but it’s a near certainty you’ve seen their work, or at least a lousy knock-off of it. Back in January 1990, the two men came up with the idea for novelty glasses to be worn on New Year’s Eve. The initial idea was for glasses to display the year 2000, but they were of course nearly a decade early for that. So, they started by making glasses for the ’90s:

A man in “1991” novelty glasses”Richard Sclafani shows off his original “1991” design

While I don’t recall seeing novelty glasses back in the ’90s, they certainly had a solid design. The year 2000 glasses were wonderfully balanced gold, and the 2001 through 2009 models were great as well.

The patent filing for the year 2000 glassesGold!

Regrettably for Sclafani and Cicero, however, they got ripped off and undercut. In the late ’90s and early 2000s, cheap imitators flooded the market. As a result, the two men never got rich, or even received much credit.

After 2009, things rapidly went off the rails when it came to novelty glasses. In 2010, manufacturers hung on by wedging a tiny “1” between the zeroes. That was bad enough, but in 2011, terrible designs just shoved an eyehole into the first numeral one. Since then, it’s gotten worse and worse. At this point, the glasses ought to simply cease to exist, at least until 2090.

Thankfully for their legacy, Scalfani and Cicero got out of the novelty glasses game before it all went to pot. They thus never sullied their idea’s purity with absolute trash like this:

A man in “1991” novelty glasses”20023?! 20203?! What the hell is that?
[Photo via: Emily Murnane]

I actually happened upon these exact glasses while in New York City just before Christmas. I was so disgusted I failed to take a picture. That’s how you know it’s bad.