Ray-Ban is an American brand of sunglasses founded in 1937 by Bausch & Lomb. In 1999, Bausch & Lomb sold the brand to the Italian Luxottica Group for a reported $640 million. he history of the Ray-Ban aviator dates back to the 1920s, when new airplanes allowed people to fly higher and farther. Many US Air Force pilots were reporting that the glare from the sun was giving them headaches and altitude sickness. In 1929, when US Army Air Corps lieutenant, General John MacCready asked New York-based medical equipment manufacturer Bausch & Lomb to create army pilot sunglasses that would stop his men suffering headaches and nausea caused by the intense blue and white hues of the sky, a new kind of glasses was introduced. The prototype, created in 1936 and known as ‘Anti-Glare’, had plastic frames and green lenses that could cut out the glare without obscuring vision. The sunglasses were remodeled with a metal frame the following year and rebranded as the 'Ray-Ban Aviator'. On May 7, 1937, Bausch & Lomb took out the patent, and the Aviator was born
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In 1939, Ray-Ban launched a new version of the aviator called the 'Outdoorsman'. It was designed for specific groups such as hunting, shooting and fishing enthusiasts, and featured a top bar and temple end pieces to distinguish it from the standard aviator. A few years later, in the 1940s, Gradient lenses were introduced. These were mirrored lenses which featured a special coating on the upper part of the lens for enhanced protection, but an uncoated lower lens for a clear view of the plane’s instrument panel. In 1952, Ray-Ban created another classic style, the Ray-Ban Wayfarer, this time with plastic frames. They soon became popular in Hollywood, and can be seen on James Dean in 1955’s Rebel Without a Cause and later on Audrey Hepburn in 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The now-standard G-15 gray lens was introduced a year after the Wayfarer, in 1953. The brand remained popular during the 60s and 70s, and gained popularity during the 1980s with cameos in iconic movies such as 'The Blues Brothers' (1980), 'Risky Business' (1983) and 'Top Gun' (1986). In the 90s, Ray Ban came out with a series of innovation and sleek looking design shown in the series of the following models: Predators, Inertia, Prophecy, Gatsby, Sidestreet and Cutters, just to mention a few of them. But during the 90s, as rivals like Oakley gained popularity among younger customers, Ray-Ban started to struggle - and in 1999, owners Bausch & Lomb sold the brand to Italian eyewear company Luxottica for $640 million.