History of Sunglasses
Sunglasses were introduced to America in the early 1900’s, and have been a staple of summer weather, afternoons at the beach, and days out in the city ever since. Prior to the 20th century, some medieval and far east references were made of using tinted or shaded glass for viewing purposes, but most credit the widespread commercial use of sunglasses to Sam Foster in the late 1920’s.
How Sunglasses Started
Sunglasses were initially sold off the Atlantic City boardwalk by Sam Foster, and they quickly became a popular item among the rich and famous. Actors and actresses were quick to adopt the lenses as a means to protect their eyes from the near-blinding lights that were featured on movie sets of the time. Off the screen, they found the sunglasses useful for concealing their identities while out in public. Eventually, popularity of sunglasses increased through the general public, and people made use of the fashionable item for all types of recreation.
In 1937, when United States Air-Force pilots needed eye protection from the bright sun, they adopted the now-infamous Aviator style of sunglasses created by start-up company Ray-Ban. The Aviator glasses not only were protective against harmful ultra-violet rays, but quickly became a fashion staple during, and after the World War II era. Ray Ban wasn’t finished exclusively with the Aviator, as they innovated unique plastic molding technology in the 50’s to manufacture the Wayfarer, their other iconic style. Plastic molding technology made manufacturing sunglasses easy and affordable, and allowed sunglasses to be affordable and easy to access for the general public. Today, most sunglasses take inspiration from either wayfarers or aviators, and the individual wayfarer and aviator styles are still popular to this day.
Since their invention, celebrities have always been on the fore-front of sunglass trends, and sunglasses have become synonymous with Hollywood actors and actresses. In the 60’s, Bob Dylan and Audrey Hepburn were among the early adopters of wayfarer styled sunglasses, and many 1970’s and 1980’s stars brought aviators back into fashion. Today, many celebrities have their own lines of designer sunglasses, and many of the top brands clamor to have their sunglasses worn by the current pop stars.
While sunglass trends vary year to year, classic sunglasses such as aviator and wayfarer styles are always appropriate. While sunglasses can be purchased for very low prices, most people prefer high quality designer sunglasses these days, as they promise a trendy look, polarized lenses, clear optics, and durable frames.