Tinted spectacles, 1801-1900.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Eye preservers, or sunglasses with blue lenses and silvered steel wire frame. John Ayscough produced the first sunglasses in 1752, when, believing clear glass to produce an unpleasant glare for the wearer of spectacles, he made a pair with tinted glass. Ayscough advocated green or blue glass as the best colours for his purpose. His glasses did not actually shield the eyes from the harmful effects of the sun, however, being purely designed to correct defective vision. True sunglasses date from the late 19th century, although the Inuit produced goggles with narrow slits in them considerably earlier to protect their eyes from glare reflected off snow and ice. In the 1930s, when Hollywood film starts began to wear them, sunglasses gaining widespread popularity.