A very, very hectic day has left me more than normally benumbed, but I do have something for you to ponder. When did people start wearing sunglasses?

This picture came from Pender Turnbull’s collection. That’s Hattie Lel Red in the middle and Edith Leeseman on the right, so the latest this can have been taken is 1916. (I’m not sure who the other one is and I don’t have the strength to figure it out right now.) I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen another image anywhere close to this time period with students wearing sunglasses. I almost wonder if the glasses were the occasion for the photo.

Bonus: I saw several interesting things on campus today, but I couldn’t get a picture of the  most interesting one. There was a guy moving a big copy machine out of the 4th floor of Lovett and replacing it with a new one, all without benefit of an elevator. It looked like getting the old one down was worse than getting the new one up. All in all, it was impressive. Those steps are steep.

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5 Responses to Shades

  1. Ann P. says:

    I remember one of the photos from your post a while back about General Pershing’s visit in 1920. There is a lone man in one of the photos who stood out to me at the time because he was wearing sunglasses. He’s on about a 4:00 trajectory in this photo: Probably Secret Service.

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    Yes, I see him! What an outstanding memory you have.

  3. Grungy says:

    12th Century: Joseph Needham, Science & Civilisation in China (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1962), volume IV, part 1, page 121. Needham states that dark glasses were worn by Chinese judges to hide their facial expressions during court proceedings.

    The Inuit wore snow goggles, which reduced the amount of light reaching the eyes, but did not offer any correction: Ament, Phil (2006-12-04). “Sunglasses History – The Invention of Sunglasses”. The Great Idea Finder. Vaunt Design Group. Retrieved 2007-06-28.

  4. Bill Allison says:

    From Wikipedia, for what its worth:

    In the early 1900s, the use of sunglasses started to become more widespread, especially among stars of movies. It is commonly believed that this was to avoid recognition by fans, but an alternative reason sometimes given is that they often had red eyes from the powerful arc lamps that were needed due to the extremely slow speed film stocks used. The stereotype persisted long after improvements in film quality and the introduction of ultraviolet filters had eliminated this problem. Inexpensive mass-produced sunglasses were introduced to America by Sam Foster in 1929. Foster found a ready market on the beaches of Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he began selling sunglasses under the name Foster Grant from a Woolworth on the Boardwalk. . . .
    Polarised sunglasses first became available in 1936, when Edwin H. Land began experimenting with making lenses with his patented Polaroid filter.

  5. joecwhite says:

    When I worked in IT in the late ’90s, I had to tote big CRT monitors up and down those stairs…I’d hate to have to do a copier!

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