The most expensive pair of sunglasses on eBay were: ELVIS PRESLEY’S PERSONAL MADISON SQ. GARDEN SUNGLASSES at $250,000
Sunglasses Constitute a $34 billion annual market at retail. [Source: Cover magazine,Febuary,2005 vol.16, no.3]
In the United States every 14 minutes someone loses, breaks or sits on a pair of Sunglasses.
Mens Sunglasses sell every 90 seconds on eBay. [Source:The Chatter special eBay Live 2005 edition June 23-25th 2005]
Sunglasses were first used in China in the 12th century or possibly earlier. The “lenses” of these glasses were flat panes of smoky quartz, which offered no corrective powers but did protect the eyes from glare, and, according to some sources, evil spirits. Contemporary documents describe the use of such glasses by judges in Chinese courts to conceal their facial expressions while questioning witnesses. Compare the representation of “blind Justice” in Western art.
It is said that the Roman emperor Nero liked to watch gladiator fights through polished gems to recreate with the color and image distortion.
James Ayscough began experimenting with tinted lenses in spectacles in the mid-18th century. These were not “sunglasses” as such; Ayscough believed blue- or green-tinted glass could correct for specific vision impairments. Protection from the sun’s rays was not a concern of his.
In 1929, Sam Foster sold the first pair of sunglasses (Foster Grants) at the Woolworth on Atlantic City Boardwalk. He started the Foster Grant Company in 1919. Sunglasses became popular in the 1930’s. [Source: inventors about]
Sunglasses would not become polarized, however, until 1936, when Edwin H. Land began experimenting with making lenses with his patented Polaroid filter.
In the 1930s, the Army Air Corps commissioned the optical firm of Bausch & Lomb to produce a highly effective spectacle that would protect pilots from the dangers of high-altitude glare. Company physicists and opticians perfected a special dark-green tint that absorbed light in the yellow band of the spectrum.
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.
Most Popular Shades: Ray-Ban sunglasses sold 10 million units worldwide in 1998. The best-known model, the Wayfarer, has been available since 1953 and is reported to be the best-selling style in history. It was made famous by many celebrities including the fictional Blues Brothers.
Most characters from movie The Matrix Wore sunglasses. Interestingly, all of the protagonists wear rounded lenses, while the antagonists wear rectangular lenses.
In 2004, Oakley developed Thump, sunglasses with built-in digital audio player.
In 2005, Oakley developed Razrwire, sunglasses with built-in wireless cellphone headset.
Largest personal collection: Singer Elton John, is rumored to have a sunglass collection that is over 1,000 strong!
“Cheap Sunglasses”, ZZ Top, Deguello, 1979, Billboard #89
“Sunglasses At Night”, Corey Hart, First Offense, 1983, Billboard #7
“The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades”, Greetings From Timbuk 3, 1986, Billboard #19