Something about a pair of sunglasses makes them arguably one of the most essential accessories of all time. Not only are they incredibly practical because they offer protection from the dangers of the sun, they are an enormously diverse fashion accessory, available in an amazing ray of styles, colors and prices. These are made to suit every pocket. Because they have worldwide popularity, sunglass manufacturing has become a very lucrative, but incredibly competitive industry. While some manufacturers rise and fall in the eye of consumers, there is one company that remains forever defined as a company with eyeglasses that protect eyes from the rays of the sun: Ray-Ban
It is a common myth that Benjamin Franklin invented eyeglasses (although he did develop the first bifocal lens in the 1780’s). The first glasses were developed in Italy, possibly as early as 1260. Later, British scientist James Ayscough began to research tinted glass. Despite how successful he was, it was not until 1929 that the idea that glasses could filter the sun’s rays was given any serious consideration. In that year, a U.S. optical company, Foster Grant, began to develop the idea further. Finally, later that same year, the first pair of sunglasses ever was sold at a Woolworth’s store on the Atlantic City boardwalk.
See the potential that the new technology could be beneficial to their pilots, the U.S. Army Air Corps asked another prominent American company, Bausch & Lomb, to develop eyeglasses that would protect the eyes from the sun when a person was flying. It was U.S. Company, Ray-Ban, who really ran with the idea. In 1936, using the newest technology of polarized lenses, and a wide frame that offered the utmost protection from the glare of the instrument panel, Ray-Ban began to produce a lens that banned the sun’s rays. About three years later, this version of sunglass was so popular with pilots; it became readily available to the public. This was when “aviators” were born.
When Americans grew older, their eyewear came of age as well. During the years when Ray-Ban continued its partnership with the Air Force, they created gradient mirror lenses that managed to be both highly practical and stylish at the same time. There was an allure about that American flyer in his tough leather flight jacket and sunglasses that hid his eyes. Ray-Ban turned sunglasses sexy.
All the rage in the 1950’s, sunglasses became more than just eye protection. Worn by A-list stars and socialites in Vegas, New York, and Hollywood -people whose every move was watched and replicated all over the country- sunglasses became the fashion accessory. Ray-Ban was quick to accommodate the growing trend for interesting designs and colorful frames. These were marketed especially towards women.
Their ‘Wings’ model of the 70s and 80s was indeed a forerunner to the modern, half-frame version of today. With American cop shows, like Starsky & Hutch, and Chips, reigning on TV, the mirrored lenses once popular in the 1940’s, began to reappear. Online shopping is the best way to get them.
Year 2 – Day 253 – Stealing his Ray Ban’s
Image by pinkangelbabe
Had a lovely meal last night and today got to go to Ikea and Lakeside! hooray shopping!
Wore my contacts and still can’t find any sunglasses that I like (the £300 ones in the sunglass hut were slightly over budget!) so I’ll stick to borrowing Mart’s!
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