A brief history of sunglasses

Always wanted to know when the sunglasses actually came about and by whom? Around the 12th century the first sunglasses were invented, in China. The first sunglasses were too expensive for the lower classes, so sunglasses were only for the elite.

Sunglasses from so far ago were very different from how we are now used to wearing eyeglasses. For example, they could not block UVA radiation, and the lenses used were rough and uneven, often made of quartz which should reduce the light of the sun coming to the wearers eyes. Because of the uneven, rough material, the image was often distorted. But after all it was a first version of the sunglasses that we know today!

The story goes that these sunglasses were very popular with judges. By concealing the expressions in the eyes you avoid expressions that would affect the output of their office.

The road to modern sunglasses

It became more serious in the eighteenth century. More advanced versions of the sunglasses came out. Still nothing was known about the harmful effects of the sun, in the form of UVA radiation. So also these sunglasses were more for peace of mind and a fashsion statement, than actually offering any real protection against the sun.

Around 1930 sunglasses were introduced in the US. These sunglasses were actually sold to protect against harmful sunrays. UVA radiation was filtered through the lenses that Edwin H. Land, the founder of the Polaroid Corporation, designed. Not much later, the polarized lens was also developed, first for their cameras, later to be used in sunglasses, to also benefit from the advantages of polarized lenses.

Movie stars and becoming increasingly popular with sunglasses

Sunglasses became really popular when film stars like Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson were wearing the well-known black Wayfarers. Nowadays, UV protection sunglasses have become an industry standard, in combination with different colors, coatings and even matte lenses. The latter we at Mariener perfected to make affordable for a larger target group of people.