Elton John has over a thousand pairs, Canadian singer Corey Hart only wears his at night, and you can tell the good guys from the bad guys in The Matrix by the shape of theirs.
Although the origins of Sunglasses Day are unknown, the history of sunglasses stretches as far back as 12th century China, where judges used eyewear made of smoke-coloured quartz to mask their emotions. Fast-forward 600 years and modern sunglasses as we know them today were first marketed by entrepreneur Sam Foster on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
- The most expensive pair of sunglasses on eBay was Elvis Presley’s famous Madison Square Garden’s. They sold for $250,000.
- In 2012, 95.9 million units of plano sunglasses were sold in the United States. Only 4.7 million of which were sold by online entities. Plano (polarized, non-polarized) pertains to eyeglasses that do not contain a curvature for correcting vision defects
- Every 14 minutes an American loses, breaks or sits on a pair of sunglasses.
- In 2005, men’s sunglasses were selling every 90 seconds on eBay.
- The first sunglasses were invented sometime in 12th century China as a crude slab of smoked quartz held against the face to block sunlight. These darkened lenses, made only for the very wealthy, were not vision-corrected, nor did they protect against harmful UV rays. They were also worn by judges in Chinese courts to conceal their facial expressions while questioning witnesses.
- In 1929, Sam Foster sold the first pair of sunglasses, Foster Grants, at the Woolworth on Atlantic City Boardwalk. He started the Foster Grant Company in 1919 to make combs.
- In 1936, Edwin H. Land combined his lens making skills with his patented Polaroid filter, creating the first polarized sunnies.
- In the 1930s, the Army Air Corps commissioned the optical firm of Bausch & Lomb to produce a highly-effective spectacle that would protect pilots from the dangers of high altitude glare. Company physicists and opticians perfected a dark green tint that absorbed light in the yellow band of the spectrum.
- With the impending World War II in 1936, Ray-Ban designed anti-glare aviator style sunglasses, using polarized lens technology created by Edwin H. Land, founder of the Polaroid Corporation. They also developed a slightly drooping frame perimeter to maximally shield an aviator’s eyes, which repeatedly glanced downward toward a plane’s instrument panel. Fliers were issued the glasses at no charge, and the public in 1937 was able to purchase the model that banned the sun’s rays as Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses.
- Ray-Ban sold 10 million units worldwide in 1998. The best-known model, the Wayfarer, has been available since 1953 and is reported to be the best-selling style in history. It was made famous by many celebrities including the fictional Blues Brothers.
- Not sure if your lenses are polarized? Take two pairs of supposed polarized glasses and look through both; now rotate one lens 90 degrees. If the lenses are truly polarized, you should see an obvious blocking of light.
- Three popular sunglasses songs: “Cheap Sunglasses”; “Sunglasses At Night”; “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.”
- With over 1,000 strong, Elton John is rumored to have the largest personal collection of sunshades.
- Most characters from the movie “The Matrix” wore sunglasses. Interestingly, all of the protagonists wear rounded lenses, while the antagonists wear rectangular lenses.
- In 2004, Oakley developed Thump, sunglasses with a built-in digital audio player. One year later the company created Razrwire, sunglasses with a built-in wireless cell phone headset.