Foster Grant

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Foster Grant
Subsidiary of FGX International
Founded 1919
Founder Sam Foster
Headquarters Smithfield, Rhode Island, United States
Products Eyewear and sunglasses

Foster Grant, or FosterGrant, is an American brand of eyewear founded by Sam Foster in 1919. The Foster Grant brand is a subsidiary company of FGX International, a consumer goods wholesaler with headquarters in Smithfield, Rhode Island, which has been owned by Essilor since 2010.[1]


In 1919 in Leominster, Massachusetts, Sam Foster left his employer, the pioneering plastics manufacturer Viscoloid, to form his own plastics company in a former industrial laundry.[2]

In the 1850s, celluloid was invented as a substitute for substances such as ivory and tortoiseshell. One major use for the new substance was in the production of hair combs, and this was Foster's first major product.[2]

Foster Grant's original production line was ladies' hair accessories; over the company's lifetime they have also produced other plastic materials including heart-lung pumps.[3]

In 1931, Foster Grant purchased the first plastics injection molding machine to be used in the Leominster area, but the company was not able to figure out the machine's operation for two years.[2]


In the 1920s, Hollywood actresses (ironically featured on celluloid film) started wearing shorter hair styles. These became popular causing a collapse in the market for combs, and threatening Foster Grant. However, the development of injection molding technology made it possible to produce mass market celluloid sunglasses. Sales rapidly increased with Hollywood stars featuring in advertising campaigns, and the company became a major player in the sunglasses industry. [4]

Foster Grant's 1960s and 1970s sunglasses ad campaign "Who's that behind those Foster Grants?", included celebrities Peter Sellers, Louis Jourdan, Carroll Baker, Claudia Cardinale, Elke Sommer, Anita Ekberg, Vittorio Gassman, Anthony Quinn, Mia Farrow, Robert Goulet, Julie Christie, Woody Allen, OJ Simpson, Raquel Welch, Terence Stamp, Clayton Moore, and Vanessa Redgrave.[5]

That famous ad campaign was reintroduced around the year 2000 with model Cindy Crawford and race car driver Jeff Gordon.

Beginning in January 2009, Raquel Welch was the star of a national television advertising campaign for the Foster Grant Reading Glasses collection. FGX International spent over $12 million in measured media on consumer television advertising in 2009. The ads were created by Ferrara & Co. of Princeton, New Jersey and produced by television director Bob Giraldi.

Foster Grant launched television commercials in 2010, once again including Hollywood icon Raquel Welch. Today, the popular brand is represented by the famous Hollywood actress Brooke Shields.


  1. ^ FGX International expansion approved, Gerry Goldstein, Valley Breeze & Observer, 2 January 2013]
  2. ^ a b c Gross, Daniel A. (Fall 2015). "Plastic Town". Distillations. Chemical Heritage Foundation. 1 (3): 26–33. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  3. ^ Foster Grant Collection, Syracuse University
  4. ^
  5. ^ Foster Grant • History (archived 2003)

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