The birth of sunglasses is of Chinese origin as an accessory that was by no means designed to block sun rays as they are now. For many centuries it was routine for Judges in China to adorn tinted quartz lenses in order to hide their eye expressions within court rooms in order to maintain secrecy about their own leanings in court cases. It wasn't until the twentieth century that sunglasses as we know came to the fore as an invention of the entrepreneur Sam Foster in 1929. The first pair of sunglasses were put on sale in Atlanta, New Jersey and within the year that followed sunglasses became a must have accessory for all in the region, particularly for those who spent their time on the beach.
The next key event in the history of sunglasses followed in 1936 when sunglasses were polarized making them a safer product to wear when experiencing the gaze of the sun. This advance came about through the endeavours of the Army Air Corps in 1930 who developed polarized spectacles in order to protect pilots from the dangers of glare at high altitudes. The smart invention was the result of perfection of the special green tint that absorbed light which fell into the yellow band of the spectrum creating the polarized effect.
As a fairly low key phenomena in America and within the military, it was not until the 1960's that a chic sunglasses advertising campaign ran by the comb and glass firm of Foster Grant encouraged well-known fashion designers, as well as Hollywood stars to escalate the sunglass craze in the '70s with their brand-name lines.
In a relatively short period of time the giant sunglasses industry had been born where only a few decades earlier none existed. Much like how women since ancient times hid seductively behind an expanded fan or a dipped parasol, the modern woman discovered an allure in wearing sunglasses, regardless of the advantages of avoiding solar glare.
In most recent times sunglasses have utilised technology with Oakley Sunglasses adding a music player to their sunglasses and a number of Japanese prototypes emerging that carry a small interface in the lenses. Whilst still at a conceptual stage the idea of being able to interact with a computer and connect to the World Wide Web through the lenses within your glasses and control the interface with neuron connection is not a million miles away. If further advances are made with sunglasses it would mark the completion of a remarkable journey from the court rooms of China through to cyberspace via simple eye protection and a tool to aid air to air combat!