Since pilots were flying farther, faster, and higher than ever before, these Icaruses would come down with massive headaches from the bright sun. Lieutenant General John MacCready of the U.S. Air Corps called up Bausch & Lomb, who tackled the situation and unwittingly left the greatest mark on the history of eyewear.
The first guy to popularize the Aviator was not a celebrity, but rather General Douglas MacArthur.
When he landed on a beach in the Philippines during WWII, photojournalists snapped pics that would give the shades their first global exposure. They became popular with the French Army soon after, giving the Arkansas-born commander the fashion validation that he obviously didn’t need.
The original Ray-Ban prototype had green-tinted lenses and was made of plastic.
To combat the intense blues and whites of the sky and sun, the green lenses tinted things just right. As for the prototype’s plastic frames, Ray-Ban quickly ditched them for thin metal.