Everyone has today at least one pair of sunglasses and in many parts of the nation, a person needs several pairs, including the prescription lens. The first mass-manufactured sunglasses were done in 1929. Those early glasses were sold by Sam Foster on the Atlantic City, New Jersey boardwalk. People loved how the glasses protected their eyes at the beach.

A few years later, Bausch & Lomb Company began making sunglasses for American military aviators. Polarized lenses were introduced in 1936, Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid Corporation had invented Polaroid filters, allowing glasses to protect against harmful UV rays for the first time, and making a desirable item for fashion and comfort as well as for health aid. General Douglas MacArthur helped make them popular because he was frequently photographed wearing a pair.

Sunglasses in general became quite popular when movie stars began using them to protect their eyes from the bright studio lights. In the 1950s, it was Audrey Hepburn who made wearing sunglasses very popular in the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Also popular in the 1950s were the ‘cat eyes’ style regular glasses and sunglasses.

It was First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, who made popular the oversize style of sunglasses in the 1960s. You might have some family photos with ancestors wearing that style of sunglasses.

Check family photos from the 1920s to 1970s and see what style your relatives were wearing.

Photo: 1950s ‘cat eyes’ style sunglasses.

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