Before long, stores from coast to coast were begging him for more sunglasses. By 1938, Life magazine reported that 20 million sunglasses had been sold the previous year, calling them “a new fad for wear on city streets … a favorite
But it was advertising—$1 million a year by the mid-1970s, including sponsorship of the World Series—that made
1919 | Foster Grant Co. founded
1929 | Sam Foster sells sunglasses on Atlantic City’s boardwalk
1936 | Edwin H. Land introduces polarized sunglass lenses
1937 | Ray-Ban launches Aviator sunglasses, later worn by Gen. Douglas MacArthur
1952 | Ray-Ban debuts Wayfarers style
1961 | Audrey Hepburn wears Manhattan sunglasses by Oliver Goldsmith in Breakfast at Tiffany’s
1965 | “Who’s behind those Foster Grants?” ad campaign launches
1983 | Tom Cruise peers over his Wayfarers in Risky Business
- Celebrities featured in the original Foster Grant ad campaign included Woody Allen, Raquel Welch, Peter Sellers, Anthony Quinn, Mia Farrow and Elke Sommer.
- Leominster, Mass., where Foster Grant sunglasses emerged from a plastics manufacturing business, is now home to the National Plastics Center and Museum.
- Some accounts claim that syphilis patients in the 19th century wore amber-tinted glasses because sensitivity to light is a symptom of the disease.