The Origin Of Sunglasses.
Certain classic moments of cinematic history would be unthinkable without sunglasses. Audrey Hepburn outside Tiffany’s in her Oliver Goldsmith Manhattans. The Blues Brothers on the run from the police, unflappable in their Ray-Bans. Without his custom-made micro-shades, Neo in “The Matrix” would have been just another weird computer hacker in a leather trench coat.
The earliest historical reference to sunglasses dates back to ancient China and Rome. The Roman emperor Nero watched gladiator fights through polished gems.
In China, sunglasses were used in the 12th century or possible earlier. These sun-glasses were made out of lenses that were flat panes of smoky quartz. They offered no corrective powers nor they protect from harmful UV rays but did protect the eyes from glare. Ancient documents describe the use of such crystal sunglasses by judges in ancient Chinese courts to hide their facial expression when they interrogated witnesses.
Ultraviolet radiation was not discovered until 1801, and the risk it poses to eyes went unappreciated for decades after that. Proto-shades were originally designed merely to guard weak eyes from the sun’s blaze.
Everything changed in the early 1900s, when workers making glass bottles in the north of England began to complain of losing their sight. By some estimates, these individuals were 25 times more likely to develop cataracts than the population at large. The Royal Society sent William Crookes, an octogenarian physicist, to Lancashire glassworks to investigate the causes of the condition.
Crookes concluded that infrared radiation was responsible. Crookes set about designing glasses to protect glassblowers from infrared rays, experimenting with more than 300 glass compositions in his laboratory.
During the course of his research, he discovered various compounds that could minimise glare, UV and infrared radiation, though not all at the same time. Eventually he found a formula for a lightly tinted, sage-green glass, called Crookes Glass 246, that blocked 98% of infrared light. He recommended that glassblowers adopt protective eyewear with lenses made of this material. Crookes soon realised that his discoveries had other, non-industrial applications.
Safety-wear is seldom cool. Yet shades became the trend. Why? Perhaps because, unlike other practical items, they hide the eyes, they grant privacy.
In the early 1900s, the use of sunglasses become widespread among Hollywood movie stars. Sunglasses became the ultimate chic accessory.
Inexpensive mass-production of sunglasses started in 1929 when Sam Foster introduced them to America. Foster sold his sunglasses on the beaches of Atlantic City, New Jersey under the name Foster Grant from a Woolworth on the Boardwalk. These sunglasses were made to protect people's eyes from the sun's rays.
Polarized sunglasses first became available in 1936, when Edwin H. Land began using his patented Polaroid filter when making sunglasses.
Sunglasses even played a significant role during the World War II, when Ray Ban created anti-glare aviator style sunglasses, using polarization. Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses became popular with the celebrities and the community in 1937 when they started to be sold for the public.
As sunglasses became more fashionable, they also became less safe. The original goal of providing ultraviolet protection was almost completely abandoned. This made them positively dangerous, because pupils dilate when shaded, increasing the amount of UV radiation the eye can absorb. Things improved in the 1970s when the industry adopted safety standards, but the trade in unsafe, counterfeit shades still thrives today.
Swiss Jewelry house Chopard made the world's most expensive sunglasses, which cost USD400000.