Celebrated each year on June 27th, National Sunglasses Day gains popularity each year. Organizations like The Vision Council is one of the reasons. They inform people about the dangers of UV exposure and why wearing sunglasses should be more than to just make a fashion statement.
- Sunglasses were “invented” 2,000 years ago. The Inuit (eskimos) created snow goggles from animal bone, leather and wood. There were small slits that allowed only the tiniest of light through. This effectively shielded the eyes from the blinding glare of sunlight reflected off the snow.
- Italian eyeglass conglomerate Luxottica owns nearly every popular brand of sunglasses sold worldwide as well as Sunglass Hut.
- Polaroid sunglasses offering protection from UV rays were invented in 1936. Before then, tinted sunglasses only reduced the glare of sunlight exposed to the eye.
- One of the most popular models in eyewear history, the green-tinted Ray Ban Aviator was originally invented in the early 1930s to protect pilots from the hazards of high-altitude glare.
- Ray-Ban aviators are amongst the best selling sunglasses of all time.
- In the United States someone loses, breaks or sits on a pair of sunglasses every 14 minutes.
- First appearing in 1953 and worn by countless celebrities, from James Dean to Andy Warhol to Tom Cruise, the Ray Ban Wayfarer is reported to be the best-selling style in history.
- It is believed that Sir Elton John’s collection of sunglasses accounts for over 1,000 pairs, making his inventory one of the most exclusive collections.
- In 2005, men’s sunglasses were selling every 90 seconds on eBay.
- 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 sunglasses.
- Three popular sunglasses songs: “Cheap Sunglasses”; “Sunglasses At Night”; “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.”
- In the 12th century, the Chinese made sunglasses lenses out of flat panes of smoky quartz.
- The concept of tinted spectacle lenses was first conceived in 1752 by an English optician named James Ayscough
- Photochromic or transition lenses were invented in 1964 by William Armistead and Stanley Stookey.