Eyewear, there is so much more to them than meets the eye. Some of us might not even consider them a useful accessory, but this accessory has been around since the 12th Century, and even longer! On that note, here are a few facts about sunglasses that you might not know.
When were sunglasses invented?
Like most ancient discoveries, the Chinese (from the 12th Century) are credited with inventing the first Chinese sunglasses. They were crafted both to protect the eyes from the glare of the sun and to hide facial expressions during a court session. But, the idea behind sunglasses is much older. The Inuit used Inuit sunglasses that were designed to reduce the amount of eye exposed to the sun’s rays.
The Roman Emperor Nero is reported to have watched Gladiator fights in the Coliseum through polished emeralds.
Before Polaroid filters with UV protection was invented, (in early 1936) tinted lenses just lessened the glare and amount of sunlight exposure to the eye.
British singer, Elton John's love of wacky sunglasses is what inspired the 1998 play Elton John’s Glasses. He has the largest personal collection of sunglasses in the world at around 20,000 pairs. Elton John sometimes wore oversized sunglasses on stage in the mid-1970s as part of his Captain Fantastic act.
Since the late 2000s, moderately oversized sunglasses have become a fashion trend. They are also known as Jackie O’s, a style that was inspired by Jacqueline Kennedy (that’s where it gets the name) in the 1960s.
In 1980, American rock band ZZ Top released a single called Cheap Sunglasses.
The long drawn debate on whether eyebrows should show when wearing sunglasses is unresolved. Some think it is a matter of face shape; others view the presence of eyebrows above the glass rim as unacceptable.
Sunglasses started to trickle into the US mass market in 1929 and by the late thirties, were considered a cool accessory. According to an article in Life Magazine, only around 25 per cent of them wore it to protect the eyes. The rest, wore it because it was considered a fashion accessory.
Affordable glasses (like expensive ones) are good at blocking harmful UV rays too. Expensive ones combine all of the protective technologies required for full eye protection, including eliminating specific frequencies of light for use in particular conditions.
The most expensive pair of sunglasses sold on eBay was Elvis Presley’s famous Madison Square Garden’s. They sold for a whopping $250,000!
We are unsure about people in India, but people in America lose, break or sit on a pair of sunglasses, every 14 minutes.
Edwin H. Land (in 1936) combined his lens making skills with his patented Polaroid filter, creating the first polarised sunglasses.
Not sure if your lenses are polarized? Take two pairs of supposed polarized sunglasses and look through both; now rotate one lens 90 degrees. If the lenses are truly polarized, you should see an obvious blocking of light.
All of the protagonists in the film Matrix wore rounded sunglasses lenses, while the antagonists wore rectangular lenses.
The first successful contact lens was created by German glassblower, F.E. Muller. He designed a tiny glass lens for a man whose eyelid had been ruined by cancer. The man wore the lens until his death 20 years later.
Do you know any other facts about sunglasses? Let us know in the comments below.
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