Summer is on its way in fact Perspiration is on its way. Long stress-free days are here. Basking under the sun sipping away some cola and relishing the ice cream while making swimming plans are common visuals of this longest session of the year. Despite there being heat burns and sunstrokes, this is that one season where you get the best sense of outdoors while chilling in your most comfortable clothes. Summer heat can also be a little annoying. So this summer, try changing that, by gearing up with a new pair of sunglasses.
New styles, news shapes always hit the market this season. They say that Big shades hide their sins. To hide sins, you need to have them in the first place. Despite there being all sorts of trends hitting the market and B-town celebrities always flaunting their new shades nobody, literally nobody would have even thought of their origin. Serving all purposes of keeping you fashionable yet protecting your eyes, they do it all, yet no one has ever wondered where and when this classic originated, and what purpose it served back then.
More often then not, it is proclaimed that sunglasses were initially used by prehistoric inuits to protect their eyes from the sun. Ideally, they were carved out of bone, driftwood or walrus ivory, with a minute opening near the eye region. More often than not, they were rubbed with soot to absorb the light and cut down the glare. Such so-called “sun goggles” shielded their eyes from the blinding glare of light that reflected off the snow.
The next visible mention of these goggles dates back to around 2,000 years ago. It is believed that Emperor Nero of the ancient Roman Empire used polished gems, especially emeralds, to watch gladiator fights. This seemed more of privilege back than an eye cover back then. Fast-forwarding to the 12th century, sunglasses were next being used by the Chinese. In China, sunglasses were used in the court while interrogating witnesses in order to hide people’s expressions. It was believed that they were necessary to hide the Judges’ expressions as they listened to the witnesses. It is also proclaimed that they were similarly used during civil services examinations. These Chinese lenses were then made out of smokey quartz.
Much later, in 1752 James Ayscough began experimenting with tinted lenses in spectacles. Ayscough notedly believed that blue-or green-tinted glass could potentially correct specific vision impairments. Despite protection from the sun’s rays not being a major concern during that period, he developed tinted sunglasses. Later during this period, glasses tinted with yellow-amber and brown were commonly prescribed items. It was believed that syphilis, a common bacterial infection that was widely spread during that period was caused due to high exposure to light. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was believed that one of the major symptoms of this disease was the sensitivity to light. It was then that people started using tinted glasses.
In the near past, Sam Foster initially began selling sunglasses off the Atlantic City boardwalk. They instantly became a fashionable item among the rich and famous. Actors and actresses quickly responded to this by adopting the lenses. They not just protected their eyes from the near-blinding lights that were featured on the movie sets of that time but off the screen, it helped conceal their identity in public spaces. Eventually, popularity of sunglasses increased through the general public, and people made use of this trendy item to mimic their favourites while alongside other recreation purposes. Later, inexpensive mass-production of sunglasses occurred in 1929 when Sam Foster introduced them to America. Foster sold his sunglasses in New Jersey under the name Foster Grant from a Woolworth. These sunglasses were made to protect people’s eyes from the sun’s rays.
Shades even played a significant role during World War II, when Ray-Ban created anti-glare aviator style sunglasses, using polarisation. Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses became popular with the celebrities and the community in 1937 as it was sold to the public. This industry, then took a complete turn attracting attention from across the globe eventually.
There seems no end to this story which started with pre-historic Inuits which seems to go on till eternity. Sunglasses irrespective of color, shape, and use, has attracted attention for a long enough period and it will probably do so till the end of time. They timelessly add an irreplaceable vibe that beats the suns’ heat.
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