Probably the most recognizable sunglasses on the market – even after almost 80 years – Aviators weren’t even called that at first, when they should have been as they were designed for pilots. test.
These brave men tasked in the early 20th century with seeing how far the newly designed aircraft could take them wore goggles covered with fur-lined leather hoods. But removing even this limited altitude protection could cause serious eye injury. This is what decorated American aviator John McCready saw in 1929 when his friend Shorty Shroeder momentarily took off his glasses in an attempt to combat glare and suffered serious eye damage.
McCready commissioned the New York optics company of Bausch & Lomb, founded in 1853, to design glasses that could filter out the dazzling brightness of high altitudes.
By 1936 the prototype was ready, looking a lot like Aviator’s today – a light and delicate frame enclosing large green teardrop-shaped lenses.
It was a classic marriage of form and function – with the large lenses allowing early pilots to look at their controls without removing their glasses. By 1938 the frame – which was originally plastic – had been changed to metal and they were patented with the literal name Ray-Ban Aviator. By the end of the 1930s, they were marketed to athletes as a premium product with Bausch & Lomb’s âscientific glare protectionâ.
The company created the Ray-Ban Shooter with either green or yellow lenses – yellow lenses were meant to minimize haze; and the Ray-Ban Outdoorsman offered the option of classic Aviators but with a leather covering on the top bar and temple ends of the glasses.
But it was the classic Aviators that captured the imagination: being tied to pilots gave the design a glamorous feel from the start, which shows no signs of aging. Executives are favorites of Hollywood actors, including Tom Cruise and Jennifer Aniston.