HOW THESE SUNGLASSES HELPED WIN WWII
Before movie stars wore them, aviators were built for (you guessed it) actual aviators. In 1936, with war looming in Europe, American flyboys got some ground-breaking gear from Bausch & Lomb, based in Rochester, New York. The company designed a new style of sunglasses for military pilots, which later became the iconic RayBan. The resulting shape fit snugly and had a green tint that filtered glare without hampering overall vision. In World War II, when pilots were navigating in planes like the B-17 Flying Fortress, they got a little help from gradient mirrored lenses. These blocked the sun on the upper part of the lens, but the lower part of the lens was uncoated so pilots could see their control panels. The squarelensed Caravan style followed in the ‘50s, and the Olympian frame--with its iconic curved bridge--came in the ‘60s. Pilot’s manual not included.