Vintage Directory

Vintage CORNING Sunglasses

Vintage CORNING Sunglasses
Unique oversized 1980's style by Corning. Black frame with gray tint lenses. Marked 4180S. They measure 5.25" in width at the top, and 2" from top to bottom.

Original retail price was approximately $300. They were worn once for a 1980's magazine photo shoot, and are in mint condition.

HISTORY: Corning Incorporated is the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics. Drawing on more than 160 years of materials science and process engineering knowledge, Corning creates and makes keystone components that enable high-technology systems for consumer electronics, mobile emissions control, telecommunications and life sciences.

As everyone knows, sunglasses are made with darkened, usually tinted glass or plastic lenses to filter the quantity of light reaching the eyes. Their purpose is mainly to eliminate ultraviolet (UV) rays, to reduce direct light to the desired level of comfort and to eliminate or decrease glare. But most of us are less familiar with the motivations of those who pioneered this concept two centuries ago. At a time when no one had heard about damaging UVs and everyone was naturally adapting to strong summer light with hats or visors, the aim of tinted glasses was initially to correct vision impairment (better techniques were soon developed), and later on to protect patients who had developed an abnormal sensitivity to light due to specific diseases. Not too surprisingly, the extended use of sunglasses by a much larger share of the world population came around the 1920s, from the fashionable imitation of movie stars who had to protect their eyes from extremely bright lights on the sets (bright lighting was used to make up for the low sensitivity of the first black & white films).

Both glass and plastic have the required properties to make sunglass lenses. The plastic materials mostly used for sunglasses are acrylic, nylon, and polycarbonate, but glass lenses have the best optical clarity and scratch resistance, and they remain the high-end market leader, even though they are heavier than plastics. Thanks to this material versatility, the sunglass prescription lens market covers most prescriptions.
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