American Inventions – Sunglasses

If you’re going to travel to sunny California to study at Hancock International College there’s an accessory you’ll need. As an ESL student you may come from a country that isn’t as hot and sunny as the golden state so you might not be used to wearing this ingenious invention. It is, however, highly recommended for many reasons that you purchase and wear a pair of Sunglasses when you’re outside in the sun. Today we’ll learn about the invention of Sunglasses., “Early sunglasses served a special purpose and it wasn’t to block the rays of the sun. Smoke tinting was the first means of darkening eyeglasses, and the technology was developed in China prior to 1430. These darkened lenses were not vision-corrected, nor were they initially intended to reduce solar glare…

Smoke-tinted lenses came to serve also as sunglasses, but that was never their primary function. And around 1430, when vision-correcting eyeglasses were introduced into China from Italy, they, too, were darkened, though mainly for judicial use. James Ayscough began experimenting with tinted lenses in spectacles in the mid-18th century. These were not ‘sunglasses’ as such…

The popularity of sunglasses is really a twentieth-century phenomenon. And in America, the military, which played a role in the development of sunscreens, also was at the forefront of sunglass technology. It wasn’t until the 20th century that modern-type sunglasses came to be. In 1929, Sam Foster, founder of the Foster Grant company sold the first pair of Foster Grant sunglasses on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ. By 1930, sunglasses were all the rage…

With World War II brewing in 1936, Ray Ban designed anti-glare aviator style sunglasses, using polarized lens technology newly created by Edwin H. Land, founder of the Polaroid Corporation. They also designed a slightly drooping frame perimeter to maximally shield an aviator’s eyes, which repeatedly glanced downward toward a plane’s instrument panel. Fliers were issued the glasses at no charge, and the public in 1937 was able to purchase the model that banned the sun’s rays as Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses.

What helped make sunglasses chic was a clever 1960s’ style advertising campaign by the comb and glass firm of Foster Grant. Well-known fashion designers, as well as Hollywood stars, escalated the sunglass craze in the ‘70s with their brand-name lines. A giant industry developed where only a few decades earlier none existed. As women since ancient times had hidden seductively behind an expanded fan or a dipped parasol, modern women-and men-discovered an allure in wearing sunglasses, irrespective of solar glare.”

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Idiom of the Day

Made in the Shade

Meaning: In a comfortable position in life, usually due to some manner of financial success or windfall.

Example: I can’t believe they sold their company for billions—they’re made in the shade now!