A story about the advent of sunglasses

If we talk about who invented sunglasses , we have to start from the beginning. It is quite logical that there is no exact date on which the first sunglasses were invented. There is not a single name of the man who invented them. But there are stages and people who have played an important role in the history of sunglasses.


Sunglasses during ancient civilizations

Many centuries before our era, our ancestors instinctively began to figure out how to protect their eyes. It is true that they used quite unusual for modern man materials: bark, leaves, sharpened stones and metals.

The people of the Far North invented their own protection from the “shining snow” – they used improvised materials (skin, wood and animal bones) to make small masks with slits for the eyes.

Sunglasses during ancient civilizations

Similar “glasses” were made in ancient China: although the field of vision was narrower, the villagers could stay in the field under the bright blinding sun and continue to work. During the court hearings, the judges simply hid their eyes behind them.

Objects resembling sunglasses have been found in the tombs of ancient Egyptian pharaohs. They consist of two of the finest emeralds framed in bronze.

In the Roman Empire, emeralds were also used to make lenses. Historians suggest that during gladiatorial battles, the emerald lens binoculars were used by Emperor Nero to better observe the events in the arena.


From two pairs to mass production

1752 is considered to be the starting date when the first sunglasses were invented (ie created by human intellectual activity). The young ambitious scientist James Asco invents blue lenses that slow down orange and yellow radiation – the brightest in the spectrum. Unfortunately, the invention of scientists is not becoming popular. He manages to sell only two pairs!

It was not until Napoleon prepared to bring his army to Egypt in 1798 that the spectacles became mass-produced. The commander realizes that the scorching African sun could kill his soldiers. Therefore, he issued an order obliging every soldier to wear protective clothing. The windows are painted in a very ingenious way: with soot and varnish. In this way, visibility becomes very poor, but their main goal – protection from the sun – is fulfilled.


Popularity and protection from UV rays

The twentieth century is associated with the rapid development of industry. Glasses are widely used everywhere. At the same time, people began to talk about the dangers of ultraviolet radiation (Albert Vogt, ophthalmologist).

The next stage in the development of the article was on the military scene during the First World War. With the advent of high flights, pilots need maximum protection against ultraviolet light and bright sunlight. It was the models created during this period that became the prototype of the American classic “aviator” glasses.

The result of intensive research is the start of mass production of glasses. In 1929 two events occur:

  • Sam Foster, with the help of his legendary company FosterGrant, makes the accessory affordable and at a low price.
  • Edwin Land (head of Polaroid) shows the general public the first sunglasses with polarizing lenses. This is the product of the future that guarantees protection of the eyes from UV rays.

Popularity and protection from UV rays

Movie stars, athletes and public figures are starting to wear dark glasses en masse. This accessory perfectly complements the trend for a healthy lifestyle and outdoor sports. And the protective properties of the glasses showed them not only as a stylish detail of the image, but also as a practical and necessary accessory .

The further development of the article is expressed in the appearance of a variety of shapes, materials and colors used. Today, when you wear your favorite model of glasses, know that this item has a rich and centuries-old history.

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