Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sunglasses: International Glossary and A Very Brief History

There are various words referring to eyepieces with darkened lenses:
• Shades is probably the most widely used term for sunglasses in North America.
• Glares is a term popular in India if the glass is dark. If it is light then the term is "Coolers".
• Sun spectacles is a term used by some opticians.
• Spekkies is a term used predominantly in southern Australia.
• Sun specs (also sunspecs) is the shortened form of sun spectacles.
• Sunglass a monocle version
• Sun-shades can also refer to the sun-shading eyepiece-type, although the term is not exclusive to these. Also in use is the derivative abbreviation, shades.
• Dark glasses (also preceded by pair of) - generic term in common usage.
• Sunnies is Australian, UK and New Zealand
• Specs is a common name for sunglasses in North America
• Smoked spectacles usually refers to the darkened eyepieces worn by blind people.
• Solar shields Usually refers to models of sunglasses with large lenses.
• Stunna shades Used as a slang term in the hyphy movement, usually referring to sunglasses with oversized lenses.
• Locs (also maddoggers) is a brand of sunglasses worn by rappers, gangsters and cholos.
• Glecks is Scottish slang for glasses or sunglasses.
• Cooling glasses is a term used all across India and the Middle East for sunglasses.

It is said that the Roman emperor Nero liked to watch gladiator fights with emeralds. These, however, appear to have worked rather like mirrors.

Flat panes of smoky quartz which offered no corrective powers, but did protect the eyes from glare were used China in the 12th century or possibly earlier.

Contemporary documents describe the use of such crystals by judges in Chinese courts to conceal their facial expressions while questioning witnesses.

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