History of Sunglasses

In prehistoric times and history, the Inuit wore flat ivory hippocampus “glasses” that looked through narrow slits to block the sun’s harmful reflections. Using various forms and materials, indigenous peoples of North America and North Asia have created highly efficient devices to protect their eyes from the harmful effects of strong sunlight and snow.

It is said that Roman emperor Nero liked to watch gladiators fight using cut emeralds. However, these seem to function like mirrors. Sunglasses made of flat smoky quartz panels, which don’t have the effect of adjustment but protect the eyes from glare, were used in China in the 12th century or earlier. Ancient documents describe judges using such crystal sunglasses in ancient Chinese courts to conceal their facial expressions while questioning witnesses.

First Sunglasses

James Ayscough began experimenting with stained lenses in spectacles in the mid 18th century, around 1752. This is not “sunglasses” as the term is used today; Ayscough believes blue or green glasses can correct specific visual impairments. Protection from the sun’s rays is not a concern for him. One of the earliest surviving descriptions of a person wearing sunglasses is that of scientist Antoine Lavoisier in 1772. Yellow/amber and brown glasses are also commonly prescribed items for people with syphilis.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries because sensitivity to light was one of the symptoms of the disease. Modern development In 1913, Crookes lenses were introduced, made from cerium-containing glass, to block ultraviolet rays. In the early 1920s, the use of sunglasses began to become more common, especially among movie stars. The inexpensive mass-produced sunglasses made from celluloid were first manufactured by Sam Foster in 1929. Foster found a ready market on the beaches of Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he began selling sunglasses under the Foster Grant name from a Woolworth on the Wooden Walkway. By 1938, Life magazine had written about sunglasses as “the new fad to wear on the street … something loved by thousands of women across America”. The magazine says that 20 million sunglasses were sold in the United States in 1937, but an estimated 25 percent of Americans wearing sunglasses need them for eye protection. Polarized sunglasses first appeared in 1936, when Edwin H. Land began experimenting with making lenses with his patented Polaroid filter. In 1947, Armorlite Company began manufacturing CR-39 plastic lenses.

Currently, Xiamen, China, is the largest manufacturer of sunglasses in the world, with an export port of 120 million pairs per year.

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