Aviator glasses were originally invented for the US military in 1935. They were made for fighter pilots before and during World War 2. Thus the name “aviators” They were meant to be worn under the pilot’s headgear. The original model was a pair of sun glasses with plastic temples. In 1941 more comfortable cable temples were added to them. Many companies were involved in making early aviator eyeglasses including American Optical, Bausch & Lomb, Rochester Optical, and Willson.
Originally aviator sunglasses had a green tint for pilots and sailors. This was specified by the US military to protect the eyes of it’s soldiers. It allowed in 50% daylight. Later on the color was changed to a darker tint in rose smoke. The teardrop shape was made to accomodate pilots who needed to look down at their panel while in flight.
After World War II aviator sunglasses became available for civilians, originally as surplus items. The trend caught on, civilian models and options appeared without a frontal brow bar and with plastic earhooks. American Patriotism meant that everything military was trendy, and Aviator glasses began becoming popular among the men and women of the world. Aviator sunglasses are credited as the first popularized style of sunglasses.
Ray Ban Aviator
The sunglasses were redesigned with a metal frame in 1939 and patented by Bausch & Lomb as the Ray Ban Aviator.
The first advertisements for Ray-Ban Aviators were sold as sports equipment. The name aviator only became known once they were widely used for pilots during World War 2.
Aviator Glasses frames once again enjoyed a resurgence in the 1970s, when they became popular in acetate in a multitude of colors and larger sizes.
Aviator Glasses Today
Aviators are generally known as a style of sunglasses but in later years became trendy for prescription glasses for men and woman as well. Their oversize style and wire temples makes them a good fit for most face shapes.