Who invented sunglasses?
Unlike wristwatches which have an interesting history, sunglasses do not boast any exciting chronicle. Inexpensive sunglasses were first mass produced in 1929. Incidentally, they were made from celluloid, and introduced by Sam Foster ( Sam Foster Sunglasses ) who traded them on the beaches of Atlantic City, New Jersey under the brand name, Foster Grant. The sole purpose of this protective eye wear was to shield the eyes from sun’s harmful rays.
However, “Real” shades came into existence during the mid-thirties when Adwin H. Land exploited his patented Polaroid filter technology to create them. It offered genuine protection and also enhanced the fashion quotient of the wearer. Later during the World War II Ray Ban offered pilots polarized aviator sunglasses ( Polarized Sunglasses ) which later became available to general public.
Since then aviator sunglasses have become a legend. Over the years it popularity graph may have risen and fallen but it has never been listed in the obsolete category. Even today it is one of the most preferred designs, and continues to outnumber others sunglasses in terms of sales.
History of sunglasses –
Interestingly, prehistoric folks belonging to Inuit clan wore flattened walrus ivory “glasses”, looking through narrow slits to block harmful rays of sun, while the Romans and the Chinese used various flattened materials such as gems and quartz to protect eyes from the glare.
Sunglasses have come a long way since Sam Foster’s introduction. Today, these are available in several form factors such as Wayfarer, Club Master, Butterfly, Circular, Sports, Cat-eye, Aviator and Oval. Even the lenses have evolved in terms of functionality. Although they are still made from plastic or glass, the coating / processing of these can make a huge difference to the overall protection.
Why should one wear sunglasses?
Sunglasses offer protection against excessive exposure to light, including visible and invisible luminescence. One of the major components of sunlight is UV radiation which can cause ophthalmic issues in humans such as cataracts and eye cancer.