There is something about a pair of shades that makes them arguably probably the most quintessential ‘must-have’ items of all time. Not only are they immensely practical, offering protection from the dangers of the sun, they are an enormously versatile fashion accessory, available in a huge range of styles, colors and prices to match every pocket. Given their worldwide popularity, sunglass manufacturing has turned into a very lucrative, but highly competitive industry and while a few manufacturers rise and deteriorate in the public affections, there is certainly one company that remains eternally synonymous with the eyeglasses which protect our eyes in the rays of the sun: Ray-Ban
Although Us President, Benjamin Franklin, is often credited along with inventing eyeglasses (he had been the one who developed the first bifocal contact lens in the 1780’s), the first reading glasses were developed in Italy, as soon as 1260. People continued to be fascinated by things optical throughout the centuries that followed, then, in the mid-eighteen hundreds British scientist James Ayscough began to research tinted glass, and the chance that such technology enables you to improve vision impaired eyesight. As successful as he has been, it was not until 1929 that the indisputable fact that glasses could filter sunshine was given any serious consideration. During those times, U.S. optical business, Foster Grant, began to develop the concept further, until finally, later in which same year, the first actually pair of sunglasses were sold from a Woolworth’s store on the Ocean City boardwalk.
Recognizing that the brand new technology could be beneficial to their pilots, the U.S. Army Air Corps asked another prominent American company, Bausch & Lomb, to build up eyeglasses that would protect the eyes from the dangers of the glaring sun, when flying.
It was U.S. eyeglass organization, Ray-Ban, who really ran with the notion. In 1936, using the newly accessible polarized lenses, and a wide frame that offered maximum defense against the sheen of an instrument panel, Ray-Ban began to produce a zoom lens that banned the sun’s rays. Several three years later, this type of sunglass so popular with pilots, became readily available to the American community. Ray-Ban ‘aviators’ were born.
As Americans came of age, so too do their eyewear. Throughout the conflict years Ray-Ban continued its operating partnership with the Air Pressure, creating Gradient mirror contacts that managed to be both highly practical and fashionable concurrently. There was something about that U . s . flyer in his tough brownish leather flight jacket, in whose sunglasses hid his face. Ray-Ban had just made sunglasses sexy.
Ubiquitous in the 1950’s, sunglasses became more than just attention protection. Worn by A-list celebs in Vegas and Hollywood -stars whose every move has been scrutinized and emulated throughout the country- sunglasses became a fashion accessory, as well as Ray-Ban was quick to accommodate the growing trend for new designs and colorful frames, that they marketed to women particularly.
Keeping abreast of space-age technology, the organization developed shatterproof lenses in the 1960’s and the popularity of sunglasses ongoing to rise when fashion image Jackie Kennedy was often seen along with her trademark, oversized frames. About the silver screen, sunglasses were just as one essential part of any actor’s costume, with movie stars like Peter Fonda and Audrey Hepburn, playing fashionable, sunglass-wearing, characters who were able to hide their eyes from the market and remain convincing.
Ray-Ban ongoing to develop new styles and designs within the 1970’s and 1980’s: their particular ‘Wings’ model was indeed the forerunner to the very modern, half-frame, lens of today. In the era of American TV cop displays, like Starsky & Hutch, and Chips, the mirrored lenses once quite popular in the 1940’s, began to reappears again .. Ray-Ban was retro.
Stylish as well as modern, funky and vintage, Ray-Ban remains at the forefront of sunglass manufacturing to this day, no mean feat when one considers the competition out there. Undoubtedly, the company will continue to have staying power in the industry, because through the decades it has evolved with all the nation to give people exactly what they desire for their eyes: the reliable defense of a hi-tech pair of sunglasses, and also the serious ‘cool’ of a damn sexy pair of shades.
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