Sunglasses - A Brief History


You may be surprised to find out that in the history of sunglasses, they weren't always used to protect people's eyes from the sun. Sunglasses date back to ancient China and Rome where it is reported that Roman emperor Nero enjoyed watching the gladiator fights through polished gems. And in China, sunglasses were used in the twelfth century, possibly even earlier. Sunglasses were first made out of lenses that were flat pieces of smoky quartz. They were not used as prescription sunglasses to correct vision and they did not block any of the harmful UV rays, but they did reduce the glare and made those bright sunny days a little easier on the eyes. Chinese judges used smoky quartz glasses to hide their eye expressions in order to interview witnesses. Sunglasses did not undergo any changes until the eighteenth century when James Ayscough experimented with tinted lenses in eyeglasses. He believed that glass colored green or blue would help to correct eye problems. Sam Foster introduced the sunglasses to America in 1929 where they underwent more change. They were designed to protect people's eyes from the sun and Foster sold them at local beaches and at Woolworth on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Polarized sunglasses became popular in 1936 when Edwin H. Land began to use his Polaroid filter when making sunglasses. Even more Americans began buying sunglasses and they became very popular among the musician and movie star scene. The fact that so many famous people began to wear sunglasses made them -cool- and sales skyrocketed. People even began wearing them at night and indoors.

 


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