You have probably been wondering the mastermind behind the manufacture of sunglasses. Well, the first sunglasses were invented in the 12th century by the Chinese. They were a crude slab of smoked quartz that was made to block out the sun rays. The primitive frames were roughly framed to hold them against a users' face. These darkened lenses were however not vision corrected, unable to protect against harmful UV rays and made only for the rich. They had the advantage of protecting excessive sunlight from constantly shining on the users face. Initially, the Chinese used sunglasses to hide their emotion from other people when speaking to them. This was particularly common in the Chinese law courts where the judges covered their eyes using sunglasses to prevent themselves from predicting their possible verdict based on their facial expression. They also wanted to seem emotionally detached from the proceedings and conceal their feelings when questioning criminals.
Around the 1430 vision correcting sunglasses were introduced into Italy by the Chinese. They were darkened unlike the previous sunglasses to prevent the UV rays from entering a user's eyes.
In the 18th century, James Ayscough began experimenting with tinted lenses in spectacles to improve vision for those with failing or poor eye sight. He believed that he could correct specific vision impairments by changing the color of lenses to a green/blue tint.
As the world ushered in the 20th century, the modern type sunglasses began to appear. They became quite popular when movie stars began using them to protect their eyes from the bright studio lights. In 1929, Sam Foster founder of the Foster Grant of Atlantic City began the mass production of sunglasses in America. His trade boomed after he sold the first pair of Foster Glass sunglasses on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. By the 1930's sunglasses had become a popular fashion trend in the U.S.A.
In the 1930s, the Army Air Corps commissioned Bausch & Lomb, an optical firm, to create effective eyeglasses to protect pilots from high altitude glare. Company opticians and physics perfected a special dark-green tint that served to absorb light in the yellow band of the spectrum.
In 1936, Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid Corporation had invented Polaroid filters, allowing glasses to protect against harmful UV rays for the first time, and making a desirable item for fashion and comfort as well as for health aid.
With World War II brewing in 1936, Ray Ban used a new polarized lens technology to design anti-glare aviator glasses. A year later the public was able to access the model that banned the sun's rays as Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses.
A creative 1960s' style advertising campaign by Foster Grant's company, The Comb and Glass Firm, made sunglasses very trendy. During '70s Hollywood Stars and well-known fashion designers escalated the sunglass craze with their brand-name lines.
In 2017, stars are still hiding behind oversized sunglasses, protecting their eyes from the harmful effects of UV rays and making bold and unique fashion statements. With modern technological improvements, sunglasses continue to evolve. We have gone from using sunglasses to conceal our emotions in courthouses to making fashion statements out of them. What next?