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Sunglasses History: History Of Sunglasses Over The Decades

Sunglasses: The History

Sunglasses are vital for our eyesight. Sunglasses are essential for eye health. We use them at the beach, in the car, on vacation, and anywhere else the sun shines. But have you ever wondered how they came to be so popular? We'll be sharing the history of sunglasses and how they evolved into a must-have accessory for anyone who leaves the house.

Prehistoric times are the earliest time sunglasses were invented. To block the reflections of snow and ice, the Inuit used flattened ivory pieces pierced to their eyes. More variations of the Inuit's glasses started to appear around the globe as time passed. Glasses were made from smoky quartz, which was flattened into panes in China during the 12th Century. Sunglasses were also used to block the sun's rays. Chinese court documents reveal that sunglasses were used in trials to hide facial expressions of judges during interrogations.

James Ayscough (the English optician who pioneered sunglasses) began to experiment with sunglasses in the mid-1700s. Ayscough believed blue or green lenses could be helpful for certain vision impairments. He was correct. Because light sensitivity was one of the symptoms of syphilis, it was prescribed that patients with the disease were given glasses tinted amber- or yellow in the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. 

Sunglasses were first popularized by Hollywood stars in the mid-20th century as a fashion accessory. Also, it was around this time that mass production began for sunglasses. Sam Foster was the first person to mass-produce sunglasses and make them available for sale in America. These sunglasses were sold to the Atlantic City boardwalk patrons to protect their eyes against the sun's harmful radiations.

The first sunglasses were invented by Ray Ban in the form of anti-glare sunglasses. These frames gained popularity after their invention and were first sold to the general public in 1937.

Over the years, sunglasses have served many purposes. Sunglasses have been an integral part of everyday life since the days when they were used to protect patients from syphilis and aid soldiers in World War II. Sunglasses are still an essential part of every outfit. Sunglasses will remain an essential part of your look, even as styles change.




Sunglasses styles were very basic in the 1910s. A round lens with wired frames was the standard. These styles were very simple and not as sophisticated as the ones we now have. Sunglasses were made in this era for functional purposes and not style. It was therefore important that they were small and round to protect your eyes.



The style remained virtually unchanged in the 1920s: round, small and wired frames. Sam Foster started mass producing sunglasses for sale in America in this decade. This was the first time sunglasses had been mass-produced and sold at this level.



Sunglasses became a fashion statement in America during the 1930s when they were worn by celebrities. While round sunglasses were still the most fashionable style, they were popularized by Bette Davis and other stars. The aviator style sunglasses were also created during this decade.



Sunglass experimentation really began in the 1940s. This decade saw many people wearing bolder and larger frames. Shades were often brightly colored and round. Sunglasses that resemble flowers were another big trend.



Different sunglasses styles really started to emerge in the 1950s. The cat eye frame quickly became a popular look and became a symbol of the decade. Many celebrities like Audrey Hepburn embraced these frames.



The 1960s were a time of great cultural change. The 1960s saw a shift in the fashion of sunglasses. This was a time when it was common to see square-shaped frames in neon colors.



Large sunglasses, which had been the norm since the 1960s, became transparent in the 1970s. Frames and lenses with softened shapes and pastel tints reflected the major style shift of the time, giving off a more casual vibe.



The 1980s were a time of strong fashion and maximalism. This was evident in sunglasses. Sunglasses of this era were larger and had sharper, darker lenses. Celebrities like Madonna and Tom Cruise became familiar with the Ray-Ban Wayfarer in this decade.



After decades of wearing large sunglasses, the 1990s changed things up. The 1990s saw a shift in sunglass styles, with vintage inspired frames embracing the old. The lenses were darker, but neon lenses started to appear towards the end of this decade to pay homage the 1960s.



The 2000s were a complete change from the 1990s. Frames were large and came in a variety of crazy colors. Large frames were popularized in many colors and shapes.



Many of the sunglasses of the 2010s were inspired by different decades. They featured small and large frames, a variety of lens colors and a variety of shapes. There is no one style that defines this decade, due to all the different subcultures and colliding trends. This decade saw many distinct fashion trends and statements at once.