Origins of the Aviator Sunglasses | toucca kids

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Like every superhero who has an origin story, so does our Parker aviator sunglasses. The aviator-style sunglasses are a true and iconic shape in the pantheon of sunglasses shapes. How did this sunglasses get its start and why did it get so popular?

The general belief is that the aviator style sunglasses had its start in 1936 when Bausch and Lomb was commissioned by the Army Air Corp to create sunglasses that was to be given to fighter pilots so that they can be protected from the glare of the sun during their flights.

Rayban Aviator In War Service

While it is true that Bausch & Lomb was commissioned by the military for the shades, the ‘aviator’ sunglasses was actually created before that.

John A. MacReady Inventory of Aviator Sunglasses in Full Pilot Outfit

According to the NY Times, the initial design and development of the aviator that we know today is credited to two gentlemen, test pilots Shorty Schroeder and John Macready. These two men, who experienced first-hand the limitations of the flying goggles at the time as they test-flew past 33,000 feet, saw the need to create lenses that would protect a pilot’s eyes from the harsh sunlight at high altitudes. John Macready provided Bausch & Lomb with the initial tear-drop shape and tint of the original ‘aviator’ sunglasses.

Rayban Aviator First Ad

By 1937, Bausch and Lomb had patented this technology and commercialized the lens and offered the sunglasses to the public.  Initially, this technologically advanced sunglasses, originally called “Anti-Glares” was sold as a luxury item primarily purchased by outdoor sportsmen who needed to protect their eyes from the glares of the sun. It was later rebranded as ‘Ray-ban’ Aviators as they effectively ban the harsh rays of the sun.

General Macarthur Returns to Philippines with his team wearing aviators

However; it was not until WWI that the aviator style really came into the general public’s consciousness when the photo of General MacArthur stepping onto the shores of the South Pacific was splashed across every newspaper. After that, the demand and interest in these aviator styles continued to climb.

After the war, the military look of pilots wearing aviator shades became popular among other professions due to the looks and performance of these sunglasses. Due to the increased demands, other optical companies also began manufacturing their own versions and styles of the aviator sunglasses.

Through the decades, the aviator sunglasses continued to play a key part in American Pop Culture.

Marlon Brando the Wild Ones Aviator Celebrity Endorsement

In the ’50s Ray-ban paid significant advertising to have their sunglasses seen on the faces of various Hollywood Celebrities. In the 70s – Elvis was iconic in his ornate styled aviators. It was not until the 80 that the aviator style was forever ingrained in Americana fashion when Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer took to the skies with their iconic aviators.

Tom Cruise Rayban Aviators in Top Gun Movie

While the traditional aviator is typically made of metal wireframes. Here at toucca kids, we recognize that kids will be kids. So these toddler and kids sunglasses are made of acetate, which is hypoallergenic – this coupled with the core wire – ensures that these best kids aviator sunglasses are durable but still comfortable for them.

toucca kids parker aviator sunglasses - handcrafted acetate frame polarized sunglasses for kids ages 2 to 6

We also offered our aviator styles in bright pops of color so that it can match whatever outfits they decide to wear.

Paying homage to the original aviators – we also wanted to ensure that we provide the best-polarized kids sunglasses – so our lenses are polarized so that it is best for their eyes and their protection.

Here’s to a true American classic, stay tuned for other origin stories for other iconic sunglasses shapes!