Where Did Sunglasses Come From?

RKS Xtreme Conv-SilverHey, Cool Campers!

I know all your futures are SO bright that you need to wear shades! Easy to obtain, you can pick a pair up for yourself at any ol’ convenience store. But things weren’t always so. No, sunglasses may have been around for a long time, but they weren’t around forever. When were these crafty specs invented and who were the first folks to wear these cool shades?

Well, I suppose the very first ‘sunglasses’ were invented by the Alaskan Inuits—also known as Eskimos. They didn’t look cool as opposed to the shades we wear today, but they worked and they’re at least 2000 years old!

The Eskimos (or more like ancestors of the Eskimos) usually made these ‘snow goggles’ as they were called out of bone or ivory. They didn’t have lenses but, instead, simple slits for your eyes to see through while still blocking out the harsh sunlight reflecting off the brilliantly blinding ice and snow.

For at least a few hundred years, Chinese judges in the Middle Ages wore sunglasses. They were made with a smoke-colored quartz for the lenses and therefore actually looked somewhat familiar to our sunglasses today. They didn’t wear them as protective eyewear from sunlight, however. These judges wore them to hide any expression that their eyes may reveal—the same purpose as hardcore Poker players.

Darkened glasses were thought to help to correct certain impairments in vision around the 18th Century and by were finally sold as ‘sunglasses’ once again on the beaches of Atlantic City by one Sam Foster. Seven years later, a man named Ray Ban made the first polarized pair of sunglasses that reduce glare from sunlight.

A commercial for Foster Grant sunglasses in 1960 skyrocketed the popularity for this product making them the cool, long-lasting fashion that they still are today.

Thanks for reading, Camp Fans!
- John

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