Founded 1937 – Ray-Ban Wayfarers were launched in 1952
History: The iconic Ray-Ban sunglasses brand best known for its Wayfarer and Aviator models, was founded in 1937 by Bausch & Lomb, a US medical equipment manufacturer corporation, based in Rochester, New York.
In 1929, Lieutenant General John MacCready of the US Army Air Corp, asked Bausch & Lomb to create aviation sunglasses that would reduce the distraction for pilots caused by the intense blue and white hues of the sky. A major concern was goggle fogging up causing blindness at high altitudes. The prototype in 1936 was refined and remodeled with impact resistant lenses and a metal frame to become the Ray-Ban Aviator, which was patented in 1939.
In 1952, Ray-Ban created the iconic Ray-Ban Wayfarer using plastic frames with the now standard G-15 green and grey being introduced in 1953.
Described as “The Intersection between Culture and Fashion” the past fifty plus years have made the Wayfarer very popular through numerous references in popular culture including being worn – virtually always – by Jack Nicholson, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, being name-checked in a song “Boys of Summer” by former Eagle, Don Henley, and being reimagined in the New Wayfarer with a slightly softer eye shape.
The range of available colours and patterns celebrates the iconic and timeless design of the Ray-Ban Wayfarer; it also permits clear self-expression. This includes the work of the You-tube vlogger, Casey Neistat, who’s pair of Wayfarers are subjected to extensive customization including white spray-can paint and the removal by angle-grinder of telltale logos. However, they continue to be unmistakably Ray-Bans!
In 1999, Bausch & Lomb sold the Bay-Ban brand to the Italian group Luxottica for a reported $640 million.
Photo by Luxottica