Aviator sunglasses, also known as “pilot’s glasses” or simply “aviators,” have a rich history dating back to the 1930s. The story begins with Bausch & Lomb, an American optical company, which was tasked with developing a pair of sunglasses that would protect the eyes of military pilots flying at high altitudes. The company began experimenting with different lens shapes and designs, and ultimately settled on the iconic teardrop-shaped lens that we know today as the aviator.
These original aviator sunglasses featured a metal frame and green-tinted lenses that were specifically designed to reduce glare and improve visibility. The design was patented in 1936, and soon after, the military began purchasing aviator sunglasses for use by pilots in the United States Army Air Corps.
The aviator sunglasses quickly became a staple for military pilots, as it protected their eyes from glare and harmful UV rays, improving their visibility and reducing eye strain and fatigue. The glasses were also used by the military for different type of training and field operations.
In the following years, aviator sunglasses gained popularity among civilians and celebrities, becoming a symbol of American popular culture. The sunglasses were featured in movies such as Top Gun, Independence Day and in the press, on famous figures such as General Douglas MacArthur and Malcolm X, solidifying their status as a cultural icon. Their popularity also increased among civilians, especially among men and women who appreciate the style and practicality they offer.
The design of aviator sunglasses has undergone several changes over the years. The original aviator sunglasses featured a metal frame and green-tinted lenses. But now, the frames come in a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, and even carbon fibre, and lenses are available in a wide range of tints and coatings, such as polarized, polarized photochromic, mirror coated, and graduated. The frames also come in different sizes to fit different face shapes, some are also adjustable in order to provide a comfortable fit.
Aviator sunglasses continue to be popular today, not only for their iconic style, but also for their practicality.