How Did The Design Of Sunglasses Change Over Time?
The amount of design and research that has gone into designing sunglasses today is remarkable. Nowadays lenses are being made from light and strong materials, sunglasses come with adjustable frames and polarized lenses are a standard. Of course the materials available when the first round of sunglasses were developed were much different and more primitive back then.
The first pair of sunglasses were flattened pieces of walrus ivory with narrow slits to reduce eye exposure to the reflected rays of the sun. In ancient Rome, Roman Emperor Nero watched gladiator fights through lenses that were polished gems. In 12th century in China, we saw a similar concept where sunglasses were made with flattened pieces of smoky quartz that protected the wearer’s eyes from glare, but not much else.
James Ayscough began experimenting with tinted lenses in glasses around 1752. He believed that blue or green-tinted glass could potentially correct specific vision problems. Glasses tinted with yellow, amber and brown lenses were also commonly prescribed for people with syphilis in the 19th and early 20th century because one of the symptoms of the disease was sensitivity to light. This idea still has merit today, where yellow and brown lenses are a recommendation amongst winter sport enthusiasts because they block out glare from the snow and ice.
Polarized lenses became available in 1936, when Edwin H. Land began experimenting with making lenses with his patented Polaroid filter. The material, at the time, consisted of many microscopic crystals of iodoquinine sulfate (herapathite) embedded in a transparent sheet of ‘flash paper’ film. The Polaroid sheet absorbs harmful light of one plane of polarization, so sunglasses will reduce the partially polarized light reflected from level surfaces such as windows and water.
The first eyeglass frame temples were made by Spanish craftsmen in 1600’s. They attached ribbons of silk or string to the frame and loop them over the user’s ears. Instead of making loops, the Chinese attached small metal weights to the strings in their version of the frames developed by the Spanish. In 1730, Optician Edward Scarlett designed rigid temples that rest on the wearer’s ears, which paved the way for how frames are constructed now.
Frames are normally made out of plastic or metal, but can be made from other materials. For safety glasses, you may need frames that are made from polycarbonate, which is a tougher form of plastic. If you suffer from skin allergies you might need hypoallergenic materials such as titanium or stainless steel to avoid a skin condition known as contact dermatitis.
Lens Material Evolution
Glass, plastic or polycarbonate are the standard lens materials for glasses. Glass was the original material because it has great optical clarity, but glass lenses can be very heavy with stronger prescriptions. Plastic lenses are much lighter than glass but they are prone to easily being scratched. The lightest and thinnest lens material for glasses is polycarbonate.
At Vigor, we design our sunglasses so that our customers can play hard, in style. The design of sunglasses has come a long way and we’re always looking to stay ahead of the curve and be innovators. From the technology in our lenses, to the material of our frames, we utilize the best technology available to build our sunglasses. Visit our website http://www.vigoreyewear.com to learn more about our technology and products. Follow us on all of our social media outlets to keep up to date on any new products being released or new technologies that are emerging in sunglasses.