The History Behind Sunglasses: What’s Old Is New Again


Are you fond of that new pair of bulk sunglasses you’ve just bought? Feel like you’re about as modern as you can get when you slip on that brand new pair of wraparound wholesale designer sunglasses and get ready to head out for some fun on the water?

While it’s all true that you’re getting the most modern innovations in polarization and style when you pick up that latest pair of shades that keep your eyes safe and you looking and feeling cool, there’s a history to sunglasses that you might not have expected when you get that new pair home and cut the price tag off.


For example, not everyone trying on a new pair of Aviator glasses will know that all sunglasses have a history that goes all the way back to ancient China where judges wore smoke-colored quartz lenses so that no one could see their expressions in court. Even before the wholesale designer sunglasses that people wear now were even imagined, in 1430 darkened eyeglasses were introduced in China from Italy.

The point is clear in that those wraparound shades you’re fond of today have a history that goes way back. The modern era for bulk sunglasses as far as the historians go started in Atlantic City, New Jersey, when a name that was to become very familiar, Sam Foster, found there was a thriving market for people that wanted to protect their eyes from the sun on the boardwalks there in 1929.

Ens[ign] Noressey and Cadet Thenics at the Naval Air Base, Corpus Christi, Texas (LOC)

One of the more popular types that are still popular today had their origins just before WWII when the Army Air Corps commissioned Bausch & Lomb to come up with a new innovation in the way of a set of sunglasses that would protect pilots’ eyes from glare. With the help of the founder of the Polaroid Corporation, Aviator glasses were developed to include polarized lens technology in 1936.

The next time you’re sorting through all the different choices you have when it comes to wholesale designer sunglasses, remember there’s a long history behind most of the styles available today. In fact, the bulk sunglasses you’re sorting through may have started with a pilot going off to war or even an ancient Chinese judge.

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