It’s almost back to school time again, so why not ease into things with a little fun American History 101 on everyone’s style fave — aviator glasses? The credit for their invention goes to John A Macready, a US Air Service pilot and Army aviation instructor. Back in the early 20th century, test pilots were freezing their – yes eyeballs — off and Macready’s friend, Shorty Schroeder, was no exception.
The blinding sunlight and extreme temperatures that came along with taking biplanes past 33,000 feet was taking their toll on Shorty’s and the other pilots’ eyes despite wearing goggles, so Macready decided to team up with Bausch and Lomb, who were producing eyeglasses in Rochester, New York at the time. In 1937, Bausch and Lomb took out a patent for the first aviator glasses although the eyewear was named “Anti-Glare”and not the much more adventurous sounding “Aviator” back then.
The invention had a gold-plated wire frame with goggle-shaped lenses made of green mineral glass. Thanks to Macready, the Anti-Glare had an elegant design (Thanks, Macready!), but the best part for the sake of pilot eye health was that the lenses filtered out both ultraviolet and infared light rays. Because of this banning of the rays so to speak, Ray Ban became the division of Bausch and Lomb devoted to the new Anti-Glare eye safety device that quickly became sought after by the Air Corp aviators. Soon, these glasses used by aviators became known as aviator glasses, which makes sense.
After General Douglas MacArthur and his air team in the South Pacific in the 1940s wore the aviator glasses, the demand for them back in the United States began growing steadily. All these decades later, elegant aviators are still in high demand! (Thank goodness the same can’t be said for those hideous-looking corn cob pipes he used to smoke!)
To keep up with the demand for aviator glasses for both practical sun-protection and fashionable eyewear, many different companies began manufacturing the glasses in many different styles and colors.
Get these great purple Zenni’s Aviators for just $25.95!
In 1986, Tom Cruise starring as an aviator wearing aviators in Top Gun sparked a major fashion resurgence of the eyewear. Celebrities as diverse as Michael Jackson, Jennifer Aniston and Hillary Duff wore their own favorite versions of aviators to create stand-out looks.
Aviators never ever seem go out of style and this summer, tinted versions became hotter than summer days!
We’re soooo glad that aviators are here to stay. Aren’t you?