September 01, 2016
For all of the curious people out there, interested in the origins and beginnings of sunglasses, this one is for you.
Back in prehistoric times, the Inuit people would cover their eyes with slitted goggles (also known as snow goggles) made from walrus ivory that would help to shield their eyes from "snow blindness".
This example dates back to between 1200 AD and 1600 AD.
Legend has it that Roman Emperor, Nero, would watch the gladiators battle through emeralds he placed in front of his eyes. While they would obviously distort his vision, they provided him some much-needed relief from the reflective rays of the sun.
In China, people would use smoked quartz crystals to combat the blinding glare.The judges in China’s top courts would wear prescribed sunglasses to conceal their faces while questioning witnesses on the stand.
Following this historic achievement, government agents working in protective and combat-related roles would use these shields not only to improve the clarity of their vision in the sun, but to conceal where they were looking. Sunglasses have since become synonymous with James Bond-style secret agents and Secret Service bodyguards charged with protecting high risk or affluent members of society. (That explains that!) By wearing sunglasses, both indoors and out, they didn’t have to wait for their eyes to adjust as much as they would have had they forgone the use of sunglasses as protective eyewear.
By the 1900’s, sunglasses had achieved widespread appeal and critical acclaim by the masses. As the trend hit America, movie stars began wearing them in public to prevent fans from recognizing them. Film buffs from around the world began adopting the large framed sunglasses worn by the Hollywood elite. Manufacturers like Sam Foster began to produce them in bulk, and the use of sunglasses was no longer limited to people wanting to avoid strain to their eyes — sunglasses had become a fashionable accessory and one that every man and woman wanted to flaunt proudly!
So there it is, the timeline of how we got to the rad sunglasses we have today. If you don't already own a FEW pairs, get on it! You don't want to be stuck in prehistoric times now do you?
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